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How Congress Works

Rules of the Senate

MORNING BUSINESS

PDF of Rule VII

1. On each legislative day after the Journal is read, the Presiding Officer on demand of any Senator shall lay before the Senate messages from the President, reports and communications from the heads of Departments, and other communications addressed to the Senate, and such bills, joint resolutions, and other messages from the House of Representatives as may remain upon his table from any previous day's session undisposed of. The Presiding Officer on demand of any Senator shall then call for, in the following order:


The presentation of petitions and memorials.
Reports of committees.
The introduction of bills and joint resolutions.
The submission of other resolutions.
All of which shall be received and disposed of in such order, unless unanimous consent shall be otherwise given, with newly offered resolutions being called for before resolutions coming over from a previous legislative day are laid before the Senate.

2. Until the morning business shall have been concluded, and so announced from the Chair, or until one hour after the Senate convenes at the beginning of a new legislative day, no motion to proceed to the consideration of any bill, resolution, report of a committee, or other subject upon the Calendar shall be entertained by the Presiding Officer, unless by unanimous consent: Provided, however, That on Mondays which are the beginning of a legislative day the Calendar shall be called under rule VIII, and until two hours after the Senate convenes no motion shall be entertained to proceed to the consideration of any bill, resolution, or other subject upon the Calendar except the motion to continue the consideration of a bill, resolution, or other subject against objection as provided in rule VIII, or until the call of the Calendar has been completed.

3. The Presiding Officer may at any time lay, and it shall be in order at any time for a Senator to move to lay, before the Senate, any bill or other matter sent to the Senate by the President or the House of Representatives for appropriate action allowed under the rules and any question pending at that time shall be suspended for this purpose. Any motion so made shall be determined without debate.

4. Petitions or memorials shall be referred, without debate, to the appropriate committee according to subject matter on the same basis as bills and resolutions, if signed by the petitioner or memorialist. A question of receiving or reference may be raised and determined without debate. But no petition or memorial or other paper signed by citizens or subjects of a foreign power shall be received, unless the same be transmitted to the Senate by the President.

5. Only a brief statement of the contents of petitions and memorials shall be printed in the Congressional Record; and no other portion of any petition or memorial shall be printed in the Record unless specifically so ordered by vote of the Senate, as provided for in paragraph 4 of rule XI, in which case the order shall be deemed to apply to the body of the petition or memorial only; and names attached to the petition or memorial shall not be printed unless specially ordered, except that petitions and memorials from the legislatures or conventions, lawfully called, of the respective States, Territories, and insular possessions shall be printed in full in the Record whenever presented.

6. Senators having petitions, memorials, bills, or resolutions to present after the morning hour may deliver them in the absence of objection to the Presiding Officer's desk, endorsing upon them their names, and with the approval of the Presiding Officer, they shall be entered on the Journal with the names of the Senators presenting them and in the absence of objection shall be considered as having been read twice and referred to the appropriate committees, and a transcript of such entries shall be furnished to the official reporter of debates for publication in the Congressional Record, under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate.