Nongermane Amendment (CongressionalGlossary.com)

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Nongermane Amendment

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An amendment that would add new and different subject matter to, or may be irrelevant to, the bill or other measure it seeks to amend. Senate rules permit nongermane amendments in all but a few specific circumstances.

The amending process in the Senate provides lawmakers an opportunity to make changes in the text of a measure (or pending amendment) during its consideration. Senators generally have wide freedom to offer as many amendments as they want, including nongermane changes. In fact, an important feature of the Senate is that it lacks a general germaneness rule. This absence grants any Senator an opportunity to raise issues and to offer extraneous “riders” to pending legislation. However, Senators’ freedom to amend and to offer nongermane amendments can be restricted in certain circumstances, such as when the Senate invokes cloture (which limits further debate on a measure) or agrees by unanimous consent to impose restrictions on the offering of amendments.

Senate Amendment Process: General Conditions and Principles,” CRS Report 98-707 GOV

Germaneness is required in the House by House Rule XVI (Motions and Amendments), Clause 7, which provides:

7. No motion or proposition on a subject different from that under consideration shall be admitted under color of amendment.

Also see “Christmas Tree” Bill.

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