Joint Committee on Printing
The Joint Committee on Printing, created by the act of August 3, 1846 (9 Stat. 114; 44 U.S.C. 101), is the oldest joint committee of the Congress. Composed of five Representatives and five Senators, the panel oversees the operation of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), whose support is essential to the legislative process of the Congress. The GPO also serves by law as the principal printing organization for Federal agencies, and so the Joint Committee generally oversees compliance by Federal agencies with laws, rules and regulations designed to minimize printing costs to the American people.
Rule 1.--Committee Rules
(a) The rules of the Senate and House insofar as they are applicable, shall govern the Committee.
(b) The Committee's rules shall be published in the Congressional Record as soon as possible following the Committee's organizational meeting in each odd-numbered year.
(c) Where these rules require a vote of the members of the Committee, polling of members either in writing or by telephone shall not be permitted to substitute for a vote taken at a Committee meeting, unless the ranking minority member assents to waiver of this requirement.
(d) Proposals for amending Committee rules shall be sent to all members at least one week before final action is taken thereon, unless the amendment is made by unanimous consent.
Rule 2.--Regular Committee Meetings
(a) The regular meeting date of the Committee shall be the second Wednesday of every month when the House and Senate are in session. A regularly scheduled meeting need not be held if there is no business to be considered and after appropriate notification is made to the ranking minority member. Additional meetings may be called by the Chairman, as he may deem necessary or at the request of the majority of the members of the Committee.
(b) If the Chairman of the Committee is not present at any meeting of the Committee, the vice-Chairman or ranking member of the majority party on the Committee who is present shall preside at the meeting.
(a) Five members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum, which is required for the purpose of closing meetings, promulgating Committee orders or changing the rules of the Committee.
(b) Three members shall constitute a quorum for purposes of taking testimony and receiving evidence.
(a) Written or telegraphic proxies of Committee members will be received and recorded on any vote taken by the Committee, except for the purpose of creating a quorum.
(b) Proxies will be allowed on any such votes for the purpose of recording a member's position on a question only when the absentee Committee member has been informed of the question and has affirmatively requested that he be recorded.
Rule 5.--Open and Closed Meetings
(a) Each meeting for the transaction of business of the Committee shall be open to the public except when the Committee, in open session and with a quorum present, determines by roll call vote that all or part of the remainder of the meeting on that day shall be closed to the public. No such vote shall be required to close a meeting that relates solely to internal budget or personnel matters.
(b) No person other than members of the Committee, and such congressional staff and other representatives as they may authorize, shall be present in any business session that has been closed to the public.
Rule 6.--Alternating Chairmanship and Vice-Chairmanship by Congresses
(a) The Chairmanship and vice Chairmanship of the Committee shall alternate between the House and the Senate by Congresses: The senior member of the minority party in the House of Congress opposite of that of the Chairman shall be the ranking minority member of the Committee.
(b) In the event the House and Senate are under different party control, the Chairman and vice Chairman shall represent the majority party in their respective Houses. When the Chairman and vice-Chairman represent different parties, the vice-Chairman shall also fulfill the responsibilities of the ranking minority member as prescribed by these rules.
Rule 7.--Parliamentary Questions
Questions as to the order of business and the procedures of Committee shall in the first instance be decided by the Chairman; subject always to an appeal to the Committee.
Rule 8.--Hearings: Public Announcements and Witnesses
(a) The Chairman, in the case of hearings to be conducted by the Committee, shall make public announcement of the date, place and subject matter of any hearing to be conducted on any measure or matter at least one week before the commencement of that hearing unless the Committee determines that there is good cause to begin such hearing at an earlier date. In the latter event, the Chairman shall make such public announcement at the earliest possible date. The staff director of the Committee shall promptly notify the Daily Digest of the Congressional Record as soon as possible after such public announcement is made.
(b) So far as practicable, all witnesses appearing before the Committee shall file advance written statements of their proposed testimony at least 48 hours in advance of their appearance and their oral testimony shall be limited to brief summaries. Limited insertions or additional germane material will be received for the record, subject to the approval of the Chairman.
Rule 9.--Official Hearing Record
(a) An accurate stenographic record shall be kept of all Committee proceedings and actions. Brief supplemental materials when required to clarify the transcript may be inserted in the record subject to the approval of the Chairman.
(b) Each member of the Committee shall be provided with a copy of the hearing transcript for the purpose of correcting errors of transcription and grammar, and clarifying questions or remarks. If any other person is authorized by a Committee Member to make his corrections, the staff director shall be so notified.
(c) Members who have received unanimous consent to submit written questions to witnesses shall be allowed two days within which to submit these to the staff director for transmission to the witnesses. The record may be held open for a period not to exceed two weeks awaiting the responses by witnesses.
(d) A witness may obtain a transcript copy of his testimony given at a public session or, if given at an executive session, when authorized by the Committee. Testimony received in closed hearings shall not be released or included in any report without the approval of the Committee.
Rule 10.--Witnesses for Committee Hearings
(a) Selection of witnesses for Committee hearings shall be made by the Committee staff under the direction of the Chairman. A list of proposed witnesses shall be submitted to the members of the Committee for review sufficiently in advance of the hearings to permit suggestions by the Committee members to receive appropriate consideration.
(b) The Chairman shall provide adequate time for questioning of witnesses by all members, including minority Members and the rule of germaneness shall be enforced in all hearings notified.
(c) Whenever a hearing is conducted by the Committee upon any measure or matter, the minority on the Committee shall be entitled, upon unanimous request to the Chairman before the completion of such hearings, to call witnesses selected by the minority to testify with respect to the measure or matter during at least one day of hearing thereon.
Rule 11.--Confidential Information Furnished to the Committee
The information contained in any books, papers or documents furnished to the Committee by any individual, partnership, corporation or other legal entity shall, upon the request of the individual, partnership, corporation or entity furnishing the same, be maintained in strict confidence by the members and staff of the Committee, except that any such information may be released outside of executive session of the Committee if the release thereof is effected in a manner which will not reveal the identity of such individual, partnership, corporation or entity in connection with any pending hearing or as a part of a duly authorized report of the Committee if such release is deemed essential to the performance of the functions of the Committee and is in the public interest.
Rule 12.--Broadcasting of Committee Hearings
The rule for broadcasting of Committee hearings shall be the same as Rule XI, clause 4, of the Rules of the House of Representatives.
Rule 13.--Committee Reports
(a) No Committee report shall be made public or transmitted to the Congress without the approval of a majority of the Committee except when Congress has adjourned: provided that any member of the Committee may make a report supplementary to or dissenting from the majority report. Such supplementary or dissenting reports should be as brief as possible.
(b) Factual reports by the Committee staff may be printed for distribution to Committee members and the public only upon authorization of the Chairman either with the approval of a majority of the Committee or with the consent of the ranking minority member.
Rule 14.--Confidentiality of Committee Reports
No summary of a Committee report, prediction of the contents of a report, or statement of conclusions concerning any investigation shall be made by a member of the Committee or by any staff member of the Committee prior to the issuance of a report of the Committee.
Rule 15.--Committee Staff
(a) The Committee shall have a staff director, selected by the Chairman. The staff director shall be an employee of the House of Representatives or of the Senate.
(b) The Ranking Minority Member may designate an employee of the House of Representatives or of the Senate as the minority staff director.
(c) The staff director, under the general supervision of the Chairman, is authorized to deal directly with agencies of the Government and with non-Government groups and individuals on behalf of the Committee.
(d) The Chairman or staff director shall timely notify the Ranking Minority Member or the minority staff director of decisions made on behalf of the Committee.
Rule 16.--Committee Chairman
The Chairman of the Committee may establish such other procedures and take such actions as may be necessary to carry out the foregoing rules or to facilitate the effective operation of the Committee. Specifically, the Chairman is authorized, during the interim periods between meetings of the Committee, to act on all requests submitted by any executive department, independent agency, temporary or permanent commissions and committees of the Federal Government, the Government Printing Office and any other Federal entity, pursuant to the requirements of applicable Federal law and regulations.