Holman Rule (House Rule XXI, Clause 2(b)) [January 13, 2017]   [open pdf - 504KB]

Alternate Title: Holman Rule (House Rule 21, Clause 2(b)) [January 13, 2017]

"Although congressional rules establish a general division of responsibility under which questions of policy are kept separate from questions of funding, House rules provide for exceptions in certain circumstances. One such circumstance allows for the inclusion of legislative language in general appropriations bills or amendments thereto for 'germane provisions that retrench expenditures by the reduction of amounts of money covered by the bill.' This exception appears in clause 2(b) of House Rule XXI and is known as the Holman rule, after Representative William Holman of Indiana, who first proposed the exception in 1876. Since the period immediately after its initial adoption, the House has interpreted the Holman rule through precedents that have tended to incrementally narrow its application. Under current precedents, for a legislative provision or amendment to be in order, the legislative language in question must be both germane to other provisions in the measure and must produce a clear reduction of appropriations in that bill. In addition, the House has also adopted a separate order for the first session of the 115th Congress that provides that retrenchments of expenditures by a reduction of amounts of money covered by the bill shall be construed as applying to: any provision or amendment that retrenches expenditures by-- (1) the reduction of amounts of money in the bill; (2) the reduction of the number and salary of the officers of the United States; or (3) the reduction of the compensation of any person paid out of the Treasury of the United States. This report provides a history of this provision in House rules and an analysis of precedents that are illustrative of its possible application."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R44736
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
Media Type:
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