From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms
An informal practice by which a senator informs her floor leader that she does not wish a particular bill or other measure to reach the floor for consideration. The Majority Leader need not follow the senator’s wishes but is on notice that the opposing senator may filibuster any motion to proceed to consider the measure. Recent policy regarding holds, which has not been consistently followed, dictates that a senator placing a hold should notify the sponsor of the legislation (if legislation is the object of the hold) and the committee of jurisdiction that he is concerned about the measure. A written notice should also be provided to the senator’s party leader and placed in the Congressional Record.
McCaskill Testifying on Secret Holds in a Republic
To learn whether there may be objection to bringing up a measure or executive matter if no hold has been placed, or to identify controversy associated with a measure, the party leadership attempts to obtain clearance to have a measure considered. To obtain clearance, the party leaders ask individual senators to file requests to be consulted with the party leaders. A request signifies that a senator wants to participate in any negotiations regarding when and how a measure or executive matter might be considered on the Senate floor.
- Congressional Record
- Unanimous Consent
- § 6.190, Holds, Clearance, and Unanimous Consent, § 6.191, Senator’s Notice of Hold or Desire to be Consulted, in Congressional Deskbook
- Chapter 5.D. Holds; Chapter 9. Conclusion; in Congressional Procedure
- Hold (baseball) – Wikipedia
- Senate hold – Wikipedia
- “‘Holds’ in the Senate,” CRS Report R43563 (13-page PDF)
- “Senate Policy on ‘Holds’,” CRS Report RL34255 (17-page PDF)
- “Proposals to Reform ‘Holds’ in the Senate,” CRS Report RL31685 (26-page PDF)
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