Amendments Between the Houses (Chambers) / Insist / Amendments in Disagreement / Amendments in Technical Disagreement (

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Amendments Between the Houses (Chambers) / Insist / Amendments in Disagreement / Amendments in Technical Disagreement


Korean chop-chop (fantastic doubles rallies)


Amendments Between the Houses / Between the Chambers: Method for reconciling differences between the two chambers’ versions of a measure by passing the measure back and forth between them until both have agreed to identical language; sometimes referred to in the media as the “ping pong” approach to reconciling differences in legislation. Contrast to Conference Committee.

Insist: Motion by one house to reiterate its previous position during amendments between the chambers.

The House and Senate must approve identical versions of a measure before it can be sent to the president. This process begins with one house (chamber) notifying the second house (chamber) that it has passed a measure and transmitting to the second chamber the measure as passed (the engrossed measure). If the second chamber passes the measure with changes, the two chambers can opt to either offer amendments between the chambers or convene a conference committee to resolve differences.

When one chamber sends a measure, it is messaged to the other chamber. At this stage, several actions are possible. The second chamber can ultimately approve, or concur, in the first chamber’s version. If that happens, the measure is cleared and sent to the president. Or, the second chamber can ultimately pass the measure with one or more amendments, that is, to concur with a further amendment. If that happens, the measure is returned to the originating chamber with “an amendment to the measure.”

The first chamber may accept the amendment. If that occurs, the amended measure is cleared and sent to the president. Alternatively, the first chamber may propose a further amendment. This first option of resolving differences between the two houses–the process of amendments between the houses–allows two degrees of amendments. The amendment of the second chamber is considered text that is subject to amendment. Each chamber has one opportunity to propose an amendment to the amendment of the other chamber. The process is often conducted by informal negotiations between the members and staff of the committees of jurisdiction in the two chambers. An extended exchange of amendments is rare.


House passes tax bill amid questions about Senate version


At any point in the process, either chamber may choose not to act on the version sent by the other chamber. It may insist on its own position, and formally disagree with the version sent by the other chamber. If a chamber insists on its own position, it reaches a stage of disagreement. This allows the houses to proceed to the second option of resolving differences by convening a conference committee.

Amendments between the houses is an attempt to reconcile differences in lieu of a conference committee, or even after a conference if items are reported in true disagreement or technical disagreement. The process of amendments between the houses is most often used when a measure is not controversial, there are few differences between the two chambers’ versions of a measure, or it is late in a session and there is insufficient time or will to convene a conference.

The Senate normally disposes of House amendments by unanimous consent or agrees to proceed to conference.


Surface Transportation Bill Conference Committee Meeting


Amendments in Disagreement: Provisions in dispute between the two chambers. Amendments in disagreement and Senate amendments that do not require consideration in the Committee of the Whole are also privileged.

Amendments in Technical Disagreement: Amendments agreed to in a conference but not included in the conference report because they may violate the rules of one of the chambers and would open the conference report to a point of order.

See Recede and Concur with an Amendment (


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