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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 (3-page PDF)
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.
Appropriations Conference Committee Meeting: Conference of House and Senate Amendments to H.R. 5895
- “House Rules Manual,” CRS Report 98-262 (6-page PDF)
- House Rules and Manual – Govinfo.gov
- “The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor: An Introduction,” CRS Report 96-548 (20-page PDF)
- “The Amending Process in the House of Representatives,” CRS Report 98-995 (49-page PDF)
- “Amendments on the House Floor: Summary of Major Restrictions,” CRS Report 98-426 (7-page PDF)
- “The Committee Markup Process in the House of Representatives,” CRS Report RL30244 (26-page PDF)
- “The Motion to Recommit in the House of Representatives,” CRS Report R44330 (14-page PDF)
- “House Committee Chairs: Considerations, Decisions, and Actions as One Congress Ends and a New Congress Begins,” CRS Report RL34679 (35-page PDF)
- “The Budget Reconciliation Process: Stages of Consideration,” CRS Report R44058 (16-page PDF)
- “Conference Committee and Related Procedures: An Introduction,” CRS Report 96-708 (14-page PDF)
- “House Committee Markups: Manual of Procedures and Procedural Strategies,” CRS Report R41083 (220-page PDF)
- “Resolving Legislative Differences in the Congress: Conference Committees and Amendments Between the Houses,” CRS Report 98-696 (40-page PDF)
- “The Discharge Rule in the House: Principal Features and Uses,” CRS Report 97-552 (11-page PDF)
- “Filling the Amendment Tree in the Senate,” CRS Report RS22854 (10-page PDF)
- “House Offset Amendments to Appropriations Bills: Procedural Considerations,” CRS Report RL31055 (20-page PDF)
- “Bypassing Senate Committees: Rule XIV and Unanimous Consent,” CRS Report RS22299 (17-page PDF)
- “Senate Rule XIV Procedure for Placing Measures Directly on the Senate Calendar,” CRS Report RS22309 (8-page PDF)
- “Parliamentary Reference Sources: House of Representatives,” CRS Report RL30787 (63-page PDF)
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