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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Points of Order, Rulings, and Appeals in the Senate

Valerie Heitshusen
Analyst on Congress and the Legislative Process

The Senate’s presiding officer typically does not have responsibility for proactively
ensuring that matters under consideration comply with the rules. Instead, Senators may
enforce the Senate’s legislative rules and precedents by making points of order whenever
they believe that one of those rules or precedents is, or is about to be, violated. Under some
circumstances, a ruling by the presiding officer determines whether or not the point of order is
well taken. Under others, the Senate itself decides the point of order, usually by majority vote.

nate Rule XX states in part that “[a] question of order may be raised at any stage of the
proceedings, except when the Senate is voting or ascertaining the presence of a quorum, and,
unless submitted to the Senate, shall be decided by the Presiding Officer without debate, subject
to an appeal to the Senate.”

Date of Report: August 1
6, 2013
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