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Conference Reports: About

From the earliest days, differences on legislation between the House and Senate have been committed to conference committees to work out a settlement. The most usual case is that in which a bill passes one Chamber with amendments unacceptable to the other. In such a case, the Chamber that disagrees to the amendments generally asks for a conference, and the Speaker of the House and the Presiding Officer of the Senate appoint the “managers,” as the conferees are called. Generally, they are selected from the committee or committees having charge of the bill.

After attempting to resolve the points in disagreement, the conference committee issues a report to each Chamber. If the report is accepted by both Chambers, the bill is then enrolled and sent to the President. If the report is rejected by either Chamber, the matter in disagreement comes up for disposition anew as if there had been no conference. Unless all differences between the two Houses are resolved, the bill fails. (From “Our American Government”, H. Doc. 108-94, p. 34)