Private Calendar / Private Bill (

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Private Calendar / Private Bill

Private Garden, Chelsea, by Seth Anderson
Private Garden, Chelsea, by Seth Anderson

Private Calendar
In the House, private bills dealing with individual matters such as claims against the government, immigration, land titles, etc., are put on this calendar. The private calendar must be called on the first Tuesday of each month, and the Speaker may call it on the third Tuesday of each month as well.

When a private bill is before the chamber, two members may block its consideration, which recommits the bill to committee. Backers of a recommitted bill have recourse. The measure can be put into an “omnibus claims bill” – several private bills rolled into one. As with any bill, no part of an omnibus claims bill may be deleted without a vote. When the private bill goes back to the House floor in this form, it can be deleted from the omnibus bill only by majority vote.

All private bills reported to the House are placed on the Private Calendar. The Private Calendar is called on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. If two or more Members object to the consideration of any measure called, it is recommitted to the committee that reported it. By tradition, there are six official objectors, three on the majority side and three on the minority side, who make a careful study of each bill or resolution on the Private Calendar. The official objectors’ role is to object to a measure that does not conform to the requirements for that calendar and prevent the passage without debate of nonmeritorious bills and resolutions. Alternative procedures reserved for public bills are not applicable to reported private bills.

“Private Bills” save immigrants from deportation


Private Bill: A measure that generally deals with an individual matter, such as a claim against the government, an individual’s immigration, or a land title. Private bills are considered in the House via the Private Calendar on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

Individuals sometimes request relief through private legislation when administrative or legal remedies are exhausted. Many private bills deal with immigration–granting citizenship or permanent residency. Private bills may also be introduced for individuals who have claims again the government, land titles, veterans benefits claims, claims for military decorations, or taxation problems. The title of a private bill usually begins with the phrase, “For the relief of….” If a private bill is passed in identical form by both houses of Congress and is signed by the president, it becomes a private law.

Private Law: A private bill enacted into law. Private laws have restricted applicability, often addressing immigration and naturalization issues affecting individuals.

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