Senate Committee Reports: Required Contents

Senate Committee Reports:
Required Contents
Elizabeth Rybicki
Analyst on the Congress and Legislative Process
Government and Finance Division
When a Senate committee reports a measure to the Senate, it usually prepares a
written report that describes the purposes and provisions of the measure. Senate rules and
statutes specify items that must be included in committee reports. Senate committees also
may include additional items in their reports. For more information on legislative
process, see [].1
Contents Required by Senate Rules and by Statute
Vote Results. The results of any roll call vote on ordering a measure reported
must be included in Senate reports. The results of other roll call votes, on the measure
or any amendment to it, and tabulations of votes cast by each member in favor and
against a question must be included unless the votes were “previously announced” by the
committee. (Rule XXVI, paragraphs 7(b) and (c).)
Cost Estimates. In general, the Senate report on a measure (except continuing
appropriations), which provides new budget authority, or changes revenues or tax
expenditures, must contain: (a) a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate for
the first fiscal year affected and the four subsequent fiscal years; and (b) a CBO estimate
of new budget authority provided for assistance to state and local governments. The
Senate Appropriations Committee also must include a comparison of the levels in an
appropriations measure to the appropriate subcommittee allocations (the so-called 302(b)
allocations). (Section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act. Related requirements are
contained in Section 402 of the Budget Act, and Rule XXVI, paragraph 11(a).)
Unfunded Mandates. An authorizing committee’s report on a public bill or joint
resolution that includes a federal mandate must contain an identification and description
of the mandate. This must comprise the direct costs to state, local, and tribal
governments, and the private sector; an assessment of the anticipated costs and benefits;
and a statement on the effect on both the public and private sectors, including on the
competitive balance between them. If the mandates are intergovernmental, the report also

1 This report was written by Thomas P. Carr, formerly an Analyst at the Congressional Research
Service. The listed author is available to respond to inquiries on the subject.

must contain statements on the amount of authorizations under federal financial assistance
programs; whether the mandates are partly or entirely unfunded; how any funding will be
allocated; additional sources of federal financial assistance; and a statement of how the
committee intends States to implement any funding reductions. Reports on measures
containing federal intergovernmental or private sector mandates also must contain CBO
statements on the direct costs of the mandates. (Sections 423 and 424 of the
Congressional Budget Act, as amended.)
Preemption Information. A report by an authorizing committee on a public bill
or joint resolution must contain, if relevant, a statement on the extent to which the
measure preempts any state, local, or tribal law, and the effect of any such preemption.
(Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act, as amended.)
Regulatory and Paperwork Impact Statements. A committee report (except
by the Appropriations Committee) on a public bill or joint resolution generally must
contain an evaluation of its regulatory impact, including information on (a) the individuals
and businesses who would be regulated; (b) the economic impact of regulation on affected
individuals, consumers, and businesses; (c) the impact on personal privacy; and (d) the
amount of paperwork and record keeping required. These estimates are not required if
the report states why compliance is “impracticable.” (Rule XXVI, paragraphs 11(b) and
Applicability to Congress. A report on a bill or joint resolution relating to terms
and conditions of employment or access to public services or accommodations must
describe how the provisions apply to the legislative branch. If a provision is not
applicable to the legislative branch, the report must explain why. (P.L. 104-1, Section


Comparative Print (Cordon Rule). A committee report on a measure that
changes existing law must contain: (a) the text of the statute, or part thereof, proposed
to be changed; and (b) a comparative print of the part of the measure making the change
and the statute proposed to be amended. This information is not required if the report
states that its omission is necessary “to expedite the business of the Senate.” (Rule XXVI,
paragraph 12.)
Other Views. If a request is made at the time a measure is ordered reported, a
member of any committee (except Appropriations) is entitled to at least three calendar
days to prepare supplemental, minority, or additional views for inclusion in the committee
report. (Rule XXVI, paragraph 10(c).)
Other Components
Senate committee reports typically outline the need and purpose for the legislation.
Reports may include a brief legislative history of the measure, and possibly, related or
earlier measures. There may also be a section-by-section (or title-by-title) summary of the
legislation. Statements of legislative intent are sometimes included, to guide the
executive branch in implementing the law, and to assist the judicial branch in interpreting
the law on an issue before a court. Executive branch opinions requested by the committee
may also be printed in the report. Senate committee reports may contain additional items
that explain the formation, language, and impact of the legislation.