Senate Legislative Procedures: Published Sources of Information
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
he Senate publishes its rules, precedents, and other related information so that Senators
and their staff have convenient access to the Senate’s legislative procedures and can gauge 1
how those procedures are likely to apply in various situations. Information about the T
Senate’s legislative procedures is published in four official documents.
The Senate publishes its standing rules periodically as a Senate document. The most recent
edition is the Standing Rules of the Senate, S.Doc. 106-15. This 71-page document is compiled
by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, and contains only the text of the Senate’s
These standing rules also appear in a much larger volume, the Senate Manual, most recently
published in 2002 as S.Doc. 107-1. This Manual also is compiled by the Committee on Rules and
Administration and is available online at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/smanual/browse.html.
In addition to the standing rules, the Manual contains other documents, some of which are
relevant to the Senate’s legislative proceedings. Among these documents are
• standing orders of the Senate and resolutions adopted by the Senate that remain
• rules adopted by the Committee on Rules and Administration to govern the
Senate wing of the Capitol; and
• the text of general and permanent laws relating to the Senate, excerpted from the
United States Code and comprising almost 500 pages.
Finally, the Manual includes various historical documents, including the Declaration of
Independence and the Constitution, as well as useful statistical and tabular data, such as the
names and dates of service of all Senators, listed chronologically and arranged by state and class.
A table of the electoral votes cast for President and Vice President and lists of Supreme Court
justices and Cabinet secretaries, including their dates of service.
The Senate’s precedents, especially those of the last 100 years, are compiled in a single volume,
Riddick’s Senate Procedure, written by Floyd M. Riddick and Alan S. Frumin, and published in
This book of more than 1,600 pages is named in honor of the late Dr. Riddick, once the
parliamentarian of the Senate, who had been instrumental in the preparation of earlier editions
that were entitled Senate Procedure.
Riddick’s Senate Procedure is organized alphabetically by topic, beginning with rules and
precedents relating to “Adjournment” and continuing through those concerning “Voting” on the
Senate floor. The treatment of each topic begins with a summary prepared by the Senate
parliamentarian and his colleagues, and continues with the text of the relevant Senate rule or
rules. Statements follow that summarize the related precedents that the Senate has established,
with footnote citations to the decisions and the events surrounding them, as reported in the
Congressional Record or the Senate’s Journal.
The appendix provides the language that Senators and the Senate’s presiding officer usually use
for various purposes, such as putting a question to a vote or appealing a ruling of the Chair. This
1 This report was written by Stanley Bach, formerly a Senior Specialist in the Legislative Process at CRS.
appendix is very useful for Senators who are about to take some action on the floor and who want
to verify the proper or usual language for doing so.
In addition to these documents, the Committee on Rules and Administration also prepares a
compilation of materials on the authority and rules of the Senate’s committees. This compilation
is published every Congress as a Senate document, most recently as Authority and Rules of
Senate Committees, 2003-2004 (S.Doc. 108-6). For each committee, this document presents its
jurisdiction, deriving from Senate rules or other sources, and the rules the committee has adopted
to govern its own proceedings. Also included is comparable information on joint committees and
several other Senate and bicameral bodies, as well as the texts of statutes, resolutions, and Senate
rules affecting committee procedures. For example, this last section includes provisions of law
concerning the enforcement of Senate committee subpoenas and grants of immunity for witnesses
appearing before Senate committees.
New editions of the Standing Rules of the Senate and the Senate Manual are distributed to the
offices of Senators and Senate committees. Contact the Senate Document Room regarding the
availability of additional copies. Newly elected Senators also receive copies of Riddick’s Senate
Procedure. The compilation of committee authorities and rules, if available, can be obtained from
the Senate Document Room. Copies of all these publications can be examined at the Senate
Library (Room B-15, Russell Senate Office Building) and the CRS Senate Research Center
(Room B-07, Russell Senate Office Building).
For additional information on all these documents, see CRS Report RL30788, Parliamentary
Reference Sources: Senate.
Christopher M. Davis
Analyst on the Congress and Legislative Process