Reading of Bills (

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Reading of Bills


Rand Paul Refuses to Vote Without Reading the Bill


Traditional parliamentary procedure required bills to be read three times before they were passed. This custom is of little modern significance. Normally a bill is considered to have its first reading when it is introduced and printed, by title, in the Congressional Record. In the House, its second reading comes when floor consideration begins. (This is the most likely point at which there is an actual reading of the bill, if there is any.) The second reading in the Senate is supposed to occur on the legislative day after the measure is introduced but before it is referred to committee. The third reading (again, usually by title) takes place when floor action has been completed on amendments.

Second Reading: Required reading of a bill or joint resolution to a chamber: in the House, in full before floor consideration in the House or Committee of the Whole (usually dispensed with by unanimous consent or special rule); in the Senate, by title only, before referral to a committee. Under Senate Rule XIV, if objection is made to further proceedings on the measure after the second reading, it is placed directly on the calendar.

Third Reading: Required reading of bill or joint resolution to chamber before vote on final passage; usually a pro forma procedural step.


Sen. Rand Paul Speaks Out Against Senators Voting without Reading the Bills – 6/29/12







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