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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Senate Committee Hearings: The “Minority Witness Rule”

Christopher M. Davis
Analyst on Congress and the Legislative Process

When a Senate committee, other than the Appropriations Committee, holds a hearing, the minority party members of the panel have the right to call witnesses of their choosing to testify during at least one day of that hearing. Paragraph 4(d) of Senate Rule XXVI—known as the “minority witness rule”—states: 

Whenever any hearing is conducted by a committee (except the Committee on Appropriations) upon any measure or matter, the minority on the committee shall be entitled, upon request made by a majority of the minority members to the chairman before the completion of such hearing, to call witnesses selected by the minority to testify with respect to the measure or matter during at least one day of hearing thereon. 

If the minority’s request to call witnesses comes after a hearing has begun, it will necessitate the continuation of the hearing on an additional day to accommodate minority witnesses.

Date of Report: March 25, 2013
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number: RS22649
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