United States congressional conference committee

United States Congressional Conference Committee

United States congressional conference committee

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A conference committee is a committee of the Congress appointed by the House of Representatives and Senate to resolve disagreements on a particular bill. The conference committee is usually composed of the senior Members of the standing committees of each House that originally considered the legislation.

Going to conference

Conference committees operate after the House and the Senate have passed different versions of a bill. Conference committees exist to draft a compromise bill that both houses can accept. Both houses of Congress must eventually pass the identical legislation for the bill to become law. (See ) The two houses can reach that identical product through the process of amendments between Houses, where the House passes the Senate bill with a House amendment, or vice versa, but this process can be cumbersome. Thus most major bills become law through using a conference committee. (See )

After one house passes a bill, the second house will often pass the same bill, with an amendment representing the second house’s work product. The second house will then send a message between houses to the first house, asking the first house to concur with the second house’s amendment. If the first House does not like the second house’s amendment, then the first house can disagree with the amendment of the second house, request a conference, appoint conferees, and send a message to that effect to the second house. The second house then insists on its amendment, agrees...
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