Byrd Rule (

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Byrd Rule

Peacock in full fan, by Kathy McGraw
Peacock in full fan, by Kathy McGraw

The term, named for Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), refers to an amendment to the Congressional Budget Act that bars the inclusion of extraneous matter in any reconciliation legislation considered in the Senate. This provision defines different categories of extraneous matter in any reconciliation legislation considered in the Senate.

The purpose of the Byrd Rule is to limit the contents of reconciliation measures.


Senator Robert Byrd on the Use of Reconciliation


The rule governs consideration of reconciliation bills or a conference report thereon (and any resolution changing the enrollment of a reconciliation bill) and allows any Senator to make a point of order that a provision in a reconciliation bill is “extraneous matter” and is subject to being stricken, unless overridden by a vote of 60 Senators.

The Federal Budget Process
The Federal Budget Process

Under the Byrd Rule, a reconciliation bill may not contain a provision that

  • does not produce a change in outlays or revenues
  • does produce a change in outlays or revenue but the reporting committee is not in compliance with its instructions
  • is outside the jurisdiction of the reporting committee
  • produces a change in outlays or revenues which is “merely incidental” to the substance of the provision
  • increases the deficit beyond the budget window covered by the bill
  • and recommends changes in social security.

Also see
Ch. 7. E. The “Byrd Rule”, in Congressional Procedure; § 7.110, Reconciliation Legislation, in Congressional Deskbook.






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