House Committee Markup: Reporting
House Committee Markup: Reporting
Specialist on the Congress
Government and Finance Division
At the end of the amendment process, the chair normally entertains a motion to
report a measure favorably to the House. By House rule, a majority of a committee must
be physically present. Once agreed to, a bill is “ordered reported;” it is actually
“reported” when the committee report is filed in the House. When the committee orders
a bill reported, it is incumbent upon the chair, pursuant to House rule, to report it
“promptly” and take all other steps necessary to secure its consideration by the full House.
Reporting reflects the committee’s actions in markup. However, the forms in which
committees report have procedural consequences on the floor. Discussions of the
ramifications of what to report often occur with the leadership prior to the vote on
reporting. This report addresses the procedural options committees have regarding the
form of reporting, such as what happens to amendments adopted in markup, as well as
other considerations at the time of reporting. For more information on legislative process,
Options for Reporting Amendments
!Reporting a bill without amendment means a committee has made no
changes to the text of the bill as introduced. This is usually quite rare.
!Reporting a bill with an amendment or amendments shows that a
committee is recommending a single amendment, or multiple, so-called
“cut and bite” amendments, which could be considered individually or
adopted en bloc on the floor.
!Reporting a clean bill means that a new bill is introduced, the text of
which incorporates amendments that were adopted in markup. This new
bill is reintroduced in the House, assigned a new number, and referred
back to the committee, which immediately and automatically reports it
back to the House. This option is often selected because it protects the
committee against procedural problems, such as questions about the
germaneness of committee amendments. Clean bills may imply
extensive changes during the markup, but that is not always the case.
!Reporting an introduced bill with an amendment in the nature of a
substitute reflects recommending a new text developed in the same
manner as a clean bill, but reported instead as a full-text substitute for the
Options on How to Report
!Reporting favorably means that a majority of a committee is
recommending the full House to consider and pass a measure.
!Reporting unfavorably or adversely usually implies that the party
leadership believes that a majority on the floor supports a measure even
though a majority of a committee does not. However, a bill reported
adversely is laid on the table in the House unless the reporting committee
or an individual Member requests its reference to a calendar. Adverse
reports are rare because committees do not normally report bills without
support by a majority of a committee’s members.
!Reporting without recommendation generally means that a committee
believes legislation should receive floor consideration although the
committee could not find a majority opinion on what to report. In this
case, the committee report could include a statement that the committee
was unable to agree on a recommendation or the committee report could
include minority views alone. Reports without recommendation are rare.
Other Reporting Actions and Considerations
!Committees report recommendations by motion. Some committee chairs
recognize a senior majority member to make the motion to report, others
recognize the ranking minority member, especially in the case of
bipartisan support for a bill. Most committees request a recorded vote on
the motion to report.
!Members of a committee are entitled under House rules to file
supplemental, minority, or additional views in a committee report. The
request to file such views is usually made following the vote on a motion
!Many committees allow staff to make “technical and conforming”
changes to the measure reported. Some panels grant this authority by
unanimous consent, others grant it by motion. The authority is often
included in the motion to report.
!Many chairs recognize a senior majority member to make a motion,
pursuant to Rule XXII, clause 1, to authorize the chairman to offer such
motions as may be necessary in the House to go to conference with the
Senate if the measure being reported ultimately passes the House.
!If a markup was contentious, some committee chairs entertain a motion
to reconsider the vote and then recognize another member to offer a
motion to table the motion to reconsider. Agreeing to the tabling motion
precludes future reconsideration of the committee’s action.