House and Senate measures may have numerous sponsors in addition to the member who proposes the legislation. It is common in both chambers for the key proponent of a measure (the sponsor) to send a Dear Colleague letter (in print or electronically) to other members requesting their support for the legislation by cosponsoring its introduction. An original cosponsor signs on and is listed on the legislation when it is introduced. Cosponsors can be added throughout the legislative process until a measure is reported from a committee, or, in the Senate, at any time by unanimous consent. Names of cosponsors added after introduction appear in the Congressional Record, and in subsequent printings of a measure. A member can be removed as a cosponsor only by unanimous consent on the House or Senate floor.
An unlimited number of members may cosponsor a bill.
Democrat Laments Abortion Bill Co-Sponsoring Debacle
Also see: Congressional Record; Dear Colleague letter; Sponsor; Unanimous Consent; § 6.20 Drafting and Introducing Legislation, in Congressional Deskbook; § 4.18 Bill Introduction, in Lobbying and Advocacy; Legislative Drafter’s Deskbook.
- “Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of House Bills,” CRS Report RS22477 (9-page PDF)
- “Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of Senate Bills,” CRS Report 98-279 (8-page PDF)
- “Introducing a House Bill or Resolution,” CRS Report 98-458 (6-page PDF)
- “Introducing a Senate Bill or Resolution,” CRS Report 98-459 (5-page PDF)
- Congressional Operations Briefing – Capitol Hill Workshop
- Drafting Federal Legislation and Amendments
- Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing
- Custom Training
- Drafting Effective Federal Legislation and Amendments in a Nutshell, Audio Course on CD
- Congress, the Legislative Process, and the Fundamentals of Lawmaking Series, a Nine-Course series on CD
Legislative Drafter’s Deskbook: A Practical Guide
Citizen’s Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials: A Guide for Citizen Lobbyists and Grassroots Advocates
CongressionalGlossary.com, from TheCapitol.Net
For more than 40 years, TheCapitol.Net and its predecessor, Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences, have been teaching professionals from government, military, business, and NGOs about the dynamics and operations of the legislative and executive branches and how to work with them.
Our custom on-site and online training, publications, and audio courses include congressional operations, legislative and budget process, communication and advocacy, media and public relations, testifying before Congress, research skills, legislative drafting, critical thinking and writing, and more.
TheCapitol.Net is on the GSA Schedule, MAS, for custom on-site and online training. GSA Contract GS02F0192X
TheCapitol.Net is a non-partisan small business.
Teaching how Washington and Congress work ™