RULES OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
113th Congress 1st Session
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey, Chairman
(Adopted February 13, 2013)
RULE 1 -- JURISDICTION
(a) Substantive.--In accordance with Senate Rule XXV.1(j), the jurisdiction of the committee shall extend to all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating to the following subjects:
1. Acquisition of land and buildings for embassies and legations in foreign countries.
2. Boundaries of the United States.
3. Diplomatic service.
4. Foreign economic, military, technical, and humanitarian assistance.
5. Foreign loans.
6. International activities of the American National Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
7. International aspects of nuclear energy, including nuclear transfer policy.
8. International conferences and congresses.
9. International law as it relates to foreign policy.
10. International Monetary Fund and other international organizations established primarily for international monetary purposes (except that, at the request of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, any proposed legislation relating to such subjects reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations shall be referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs).
11. Intervention abroad and declarations of war.
12. Measures to foster commercial intercourse with foreign nations and to safeguard American business interests abroad.
13. National security and international aspects of trusteeships of the United States.
14. Ocean and international environmental and scientific affairs as they relate to foreign policy.
15. Protection of United States citizens abroad and expatriation.
16. Relations of the United States with foreign nations generally.
17. Treaties and executive agreements, except reciprocal trade agreements.
18. United Nations and its affiliated organizations.
19. World Bank group, the regional development banks, and other international organizations established primarily for development assistance purposes.
The committee is also mandated by Senate Rule XXV.1(j) to study and review, on a comprehensive basis, matters relating to the national security policy, foreign policy, and international economic policy as it relates to foreign policy of the United States, and matters relating to food, hunger, and nutrition in foreign countries, and report thereon from time to time.
(b) Oversight.--The committee also has a responsibility under Senate Rule XXVI.8, which provides that ``. . . . each standing committee . . . shall review and study, on a continuing basis, the application, administration, and execution of those laws or parts of laws, the subject matter of which is within the jurisdiction of the committee.''
(c) ``Advice and Consent'' Clauses.--The committee has a special responsibility to assist the Senate in its constitutional function of providing ``advice and consent'' to all treaties entered into by the United States and all nominations to the principal executive branch positions in the field of foreign policy and diplomacy.
RULE 2 -- SUBCOMMITTEES
(a) Creation.--Unless otherwise authorized by law or Senate resolution, subcommittees shall be created by majority vote of the committee and shall deal with such legislation and oversight of programs and policies as the committee directs. Legislative measures or other matters may be referred to a subcommittee for consideration in the discretion of the chairman or by vote of a majority of the committee. If the principal subject matter of a measure or matter to be referred falls within the jurisdiction of more than one subcommittee, the chairman or the committee may refer the matter to two or more subcommittees for joint consideration.
(b) Assignments.--Assignments of members to subcommittees shall be made in an equitable fashion. No member of the committee may receive assignment to a second subcommittee until, in order of seniority, all members of the committee have chosen assignments to one subcommittee, and no member shall receive assignments to a third subcommittee until, in order of seniority, all members have chosen assignments to two subcommittees.
No member of the committee may serve on more than four subcommittees at any one time.
The chairman and ranking member of the committee shall be ex officio members, without vote, of each subcommittee.
(c) Meetings.--Except when funds have been specifically made available by the Senate for a subcommittee purpose, no subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Relations shall hold hearings involving expenses without prior approval of the chairman of the full committee or by decision of the full committee. Meetings of subcommittees shall be scheduled after consultation with the chairman of the committee with a view toward avoiding conflicts with meetings of other subcommittees insofar as possible. Meetings of subcommittees shall not be scheduled to conflict with meetings of the full committee.
The proceedings of each subcommittee shall be governed by the rules of the full committee, subject to such authorizations or limitations as the committee may from time to time prescribe.
RULE 3 -- MEETINGS
(a) Regular Meeting Day.--The regular meeting day of the Committee on Foreign Relations for the transaction of committee business shall be on Tuesday of each week, unless otherwise directed by the chairman.
(b) Additional Meetings.--Additional meetings and hearings of the committee may be called by the chairman as he may deem necessary. If at least three members of the committee desire that a special meeting of the committee be called by the chairman, those members may file in the offices of the committee their written request to the chairman for that special meeting. Immediately upon filing of the request, the chief clerk of the committee shall notify the chairman of the filing of the request. If, within three calendar days after the filing of the request, the chairman does not call the requested special meeting, to be held within seven calendar days after the filing of the request, a majority of the members of the committee may file in the offices of the committee their written notice that a special meeting of the committee will be held, specifying the date and hour of that special meeting. The committee shall meet on that date and hour. Immediately upon the filing of the notice, the clerk shall notify all members of the committee that such special meeting will be held and inform them of its date and hour.
(c) Hearings, Selection of Witnesses.--To ensure that the issue which is the subject of the hearing is presented as fully and fairly as possible, whenever a hearing is conducted by the committee or a subcommittee upon any measure or matter, the ranking member of the committee or subcommittee may call an equal number of non-governmental witnesses selected by the ranking member to testify at that hearing.
(d) Public Announcement.--Except as provided in paragraph (1), the committee, or any subcommittee thereof, shall make public announcement of the date, place, time, and subject matter of any meeting or hearing to be conducted on any measure or matter at least one week in advance of such meetings or hearings, unless the chairman of the committee, or subcommittee, in consultation with the ranking member, determines that there is good cause to begin such meeting or hearing at an earlier date.
(1) The committee shall make public announcement of a meeting on nominations at least three business days in advance of the meeting unless the chairman of the committee, in consultation with the ranking member, determines that there is good cause to begin such meeting at an earlier date.
(e) Procedure.--Insofar as possible, proceedings of the committee will be conducted without resort to the formalities of parliamentary procedure and with due regard for the views of all members. Issues of procedure which may arise from time to time shall be resolved by decision of the chairman, in consultation with the ranking member. The chairman, in consultation with the ranking member, may also propose special procedures to govern the consideration of particular matters by the committee.
(f) Closed Sessions.--Each meeting of the Committee on Foreign Relations, or any subcommittee thereof, including meetings to conduct hearings, shall be open to the public, except that a meeting or series of meetings by the committee or a subcommittee on the same subject for a period of no more than 14 calendar days may be closed to the public on a motion made and seconded to go into closed session to discuss only whether the matters enumerated in paragraphs (1) through (6) would require the meeting to be closed followed immediately by a record vote in open session by a majority of the members of the committee or subcommittee when it is determined that the matters to be discussed or the testimony to be taken at such meeting or meetings--
(1) will disclose matters necessary to be kept secret in the interests of national defense or the confidential conduct of the foreign relations of the United States;
(2) will relate solely to matters of committee staff personnel or internal staff management or procedure;
(3) will tend to charge an individual with crime or misconduct; to disgrace or injure the professional standing of an individual, or otherwise to expose an individual to public contempt or obloquy, or will represent a clearly unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual;
(4) will disclose the identity of any informer or law enforcement agent or will disclose any information relating to the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense that is required to be kept secret in the interests of effective law enforcement;
(5) will disclose information relating to the trade secrets or financial or commercial information pertaining specifically to a given person if--
(A) an Act of Congress requires the information to be kept confidential by government officers and employees; or
(B) the information has been obtained by the government on a confidential basis, other than through an application by such person for a specific government financial or other benefit, and is required to be kept secret in order to prevent undue injury to the competitive position of such person, or
(6) may divulge matters required to be kept confidential under other provisions of law or government regulations.
A closed meeting may be opened by a majority vote of the committee.
(g) Staff Attendance.--A member of the committee may have one member of his or her personal staff, for whom that member assumes personal responsibility, accompany and be seated nearby at committee meetings. The chairman or ranking member may authorize the attendance and seating of such a staff member at committee meetings and hearings where the member of the committee is not present.
Each member of the committee may designate members of his or her personal staff, for whom that member assumes personal responsibility, who holds, at minimum, a top secret security clearance, for the purpose of their eligibility to attend closed sessions of the committee, subject to the same conditions set forth for committee staff under Rules 12, 13, and 14.
In addition, the majority leader and the minority leader of the Senate, if they are not otherwise members of the committee, may designate one member of their staff, for whom they assume personal responsibility, and who holds, at minimum, a top secret security clearance to attend closed sessions of the committee, subject to the same conditions set forth for committee staff under Rules 12, 13, and 14. Staff of other Senators who are not members of the committee may not attend closed sessions of the committee.
Attendance of committee staff at meetings shall be limited to those designated by the staff director or the minority staff director.
The committee, by majority vote, or the chairman, with the concurrence of the ranking member, may limit staff attendance at specified meetings.
RULE 4 -- QUORUMS
(a) Testimony.--For the purpose of taking sworn or unsworn testimony at any duly scheduled meeting a quorum of the committee and each subcommittee thereof shall consist of one member.
(b) Business.--A quorum for the transaction of committee or subcommittee business, other than for reporting a measure or recommendation to the Senate or the taking of testimony, shall consist of one-third of the members of the committee or subcommittee, including at least one member from each party.
(c) Reporting.--A majority of the membership of the committee, including at least one member from each party, shall constitute a quorum for reporting any measure or recommendation to the Senate. No measure or recommendation shall be ordered reported from the committee unless a majority of the committee members is physically present, and a majority of those present concurs.
RULE 5 -- PROXIES
Proxies must be in writing with the signature of the absent member. Subject to the requirements of Rule 4 for the physical presence of a quorum to report a matter, proxy voting shall be allowed on all measures and matters before the committee. However, proxies shall not be voted on a measure or matter except when the absent member has been informed of the matter on which he is being recorded and has affirmatively requested that he or she be so recorded.
RULE 6 -- WITNESSES
(a) General.--The Committee on Foreign Relations will consider requests to testify on any matter or measure pending before the committee.
(b) Presentation.--If the chairman so determines, the oral presentation of witnesses shall be limited to 10 minutes. However, written statements of reasonable length may be submitted by witnesses and other interested persons who are unable to testify in person.
(c) Filing of Statements.--A witness appearing before the committee, or any subcommittee thereof, shall submit an electronic copy of the written statement of his proposed testimony at least 24 hours prior to his appearance, unless this requirement is waived by the chairman and the ranking member following their determination that there is good cause for failure to file such a statement.
(d) Expenses.--Only the chairman may authorize expenditures of funds for the expenses of witnesses appearing before the committee or its subcommittees.
(e) Requests.--Any witness called for a hearing may submit a written request to the chairman no later than 24 hours in advance for his testimony to be in closed or open session, or for any other unusual procedure. The chairman shall determine whether to grant any such request and shall notify the committee members of the request and of his decision.
RULE 7 -- SUBPOENAS
(a) Authorization.--The chairman or any other member of the committee, when authorized by a majority vote of the committee at a meeting or by proxies, shall have authority to subpoena the attendance of witnesses or the production of memoranda, documents, records, or any other materials. At the request of any member of the committee, the committee shall authorize the issuance of a subpoena only at a meeting of the committee. When the committee authorizes a subpoena, it may be issued upon the signature of the chairman or any other member designated by the committee.
(b) Return.--A subpoena, or a request to an agency, for documents may be issued whose return shall occur at a time and place other than that of a scheduled committee meeting. A return on such a subpoena or request which is incomplete or accompanied by an objection constitutes good cause for a hearing on shortened notice. Upon such a return, the chairman or any other member designated by him may convene a hearing by giving 2 hours notice by telephone to all other members. One member shall constitute a quorum for such a hearing. The sole purpose of such a hearing shall be to elucidate further information about the return and to rule on the objection.
(c) Depositions.--At the direction of the committee, staff is authorized to take depositions from witnesses.
RULE 8 -- REPORTS
(a) Filing.--When the committee has ordered a measure or recommendation reported, the report thereon shall be filed in the Senate at the earliest practicable time.
(b) Supplemental, Minority and Additional Views.--A member of the committee who gives notice of his intentions to file supplemental, minority, or additional views at the time of final committee approval of a measure or matter, shall be entitled to not less than 3 calendar days in which to file such views, in writing, with the chief clerk of the committee, with the 3 days to begin at 11:00 p.m. on the same day that the committee has ordered a measure or matter reported. Such views shall then be included in the committee report and printed in the same volume, as a part thereof, and their inclusion shall be noted on the cover of the report. In the absence of timely notice, the committee report may be filed and printed immediately without such views.
(c) Rollcall Votes.--The results of all rollcall votes taken in any meeting of the committee on any measure, or amendment thereto, shall be announced in the committee report. The announcement shall include a tabulation of the votes cast in favor and votes cast in opposition to each such measure and amendment by each member of the committee.
RULE 9 -- TREATIES
(a) The committee is the only committee of the Senate with jurisdiction to review and report to the Senate on treaties submitted by the President for Senate advice and consent to ratification. Because the House of Representatives has no role in the approval of treaties, the committee is therefore the only congressional committee with responsibility for treaties.
(b) Once submitted by the President for advice and consent, each treaty is referred to the committee and remains on its calendar from Congress to Congress until the committee takes action to report it to the Senate or recommend its return to the President, or until the committee is discharged of the treaty by the Senate.
(c) In accordance with Senate Rule XXX.2, treaties which have been reported to the Senate but not acted on before the end of a Congress ``shall be resumed at the commencement of the next Congress as if no proceedings had previously been had thereon.''
(d) Insofar as possible, the committee should conduct a public hearing on each treaty as soon as possible after its submission by the President. Except in extraordinary circumstances, treaties reported to the Senate shall be accompanied by a written report.
RULE 10 -- NOMINATIONS
(a) Waiting Requirement.--Unless otherwise directed by the chairman and the ranking member, the Committee on Foreign Relations shall not consider any nomination until 3 business days after it has been formally submitted to the Senate.
(b) Public Consideration.--Nominees for any post who are invited to appear before the committee shall be heard in public session, unless a majority of the committee decrees otherwise, consistent with Rule 3(f).
(c) Required Data.--No nomination shall be reported to the Senate unless (1) the nominee has been accorded a security clearance on the basis of a thorough investigation by executive branch agencies; (2) the nominee has filed a financial disclosure report and a related ethics undertaking with the committee; (3) the committee has been assured that the nominee does not have any interests which could conflict with the interests of the government in the exercise of the nominee's proposed responsibilities; (4) for persons nominated to be chief of mission, ambassador-at-large, or minister, the committee has received a complete list of any contributions made by the nominee or members of his immediate family to any Federal election campaign during the year of his or her nomination and for the 4 preceding years; and (5) for persons nominated to be chiefs of mission, the report required by Section 304(a)(4) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 on the demonstrated competence of that nominee to perform the duties of the position to which he or she has been nominated.
RULE 11 -- TRAVEL
(a) Foreign Travel.--No member of the Committee on Foreign Relations or its staff shall travel abroad on committee business unless specifically authorized by the chairman, who is required by law to approve vouchers and report expenditures of foreign currencies, and the ranking member. Requests for authorization of such travel shall state the purpose and, when completed, a full substantive and financial report shall be filed with the committee within 30 days. This report shall be furnished to all members of the committee and shall not be otherwise disseminated without authorization of the chairman or the ranking member. Except in extraordinary circumstances, staff travel shall not be approved unless the reporting requirements have been fulfilled for all prior trips. Except for travel that is strictly personal, travel funded by non-U.S. Government sources is subject to the same approval and substantive reporting requirements as U.S. Government-funded travel. In addition, members and staff are reminded to consult the Senate Code of Conduct, and, as appropriate, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, in the case of travel sponsored by non-U.S. Government sources.
Any proposed travel by committee staff for a subcommittee purpose must be approved by the subcommittee chairman and ranking member prior to submission of the request to the chairman and ranking member of the full committee.
(b) Domestic Travel.--All official travel in the United States by the committee staff shall be approved in advance by the staff director, or in the case of minority staff, by the minority staff director.
(c) Personal Staff.--As a general rule, no more than one member of the personal staff of a member of the committee may travel with that member with the approval of the chairman and the ranking member of the committee. During such travel, the personal staff member shall be considered to be an employee of the committee.
(d) Personal Representatives of the Member (PRM).--For the purposes of this rule regarding staff foreign travel, the officially-designated personal representative of the member (PRM) shall be deemed to have the same rights, duties, and responsibilities as members of the staff of the Committee on Foreign Relations. Furthermore, for the purposes of this section, each member of the committee may designate one personal staff member as the ``Personal Representative of the Member.''
RULE 12 -- TRANSCRIPTS
(a) General.--The Committee on Foreign Relations shall keep verbatim transcripts of all committee and subcommittee meetings and such transcripts shall remain in the custody of the committee, unless a majority of the committee decides otherwise. Transcripts of public hearings by the committee shall be published unless the chairman, with the concurrence of the ranking member, determines otherwise.
(b) Classified or Restricted Transcripts.--
(1) The chief clerk of the committee shall have responsibility for the maintenance and security of classified or restricted transcripts, and shall ensure that such transcripts are handled in a manner consistent with the requirements of the United States Senate Security Manual.
(2) A record shall be maintained of each use of classified or restricted transcripts as required by the Senate Security Manual.
(3) Classified transcripts may not leave the committee offices, or SVCÿ09217 of the Capitol Visitors Center, except for the purpose of declassification or archiving, consistent with these rules.
(4) Extreme care shall be exercised to avoid taking notes or quotes from classified transcripts. Their contents may not be divulged to any unauthorized person.
(5) Subject to any additional restrictions imposed by the chairman with the concurrence of the ranking member, only the following persons are authorized to have access to classified or restricted transcripts.
(A) Members and staff of the committee in the committee offices or in SVCÿ09217 of the Capitol Visitors Center;
(B) Designated personal representatives of members of the committee, and of the majority and minority leaders, with appropriate security clearances, in the committee offices or in SVCÿ09217 of the Capitol Visitors Center;
(C) Senators not members of the committee, by permission of the chairman, in the committee offices or in SVCÿ09217 of the Capitol Visitors Center; and
(D) Officials of the executive departments involved in the meeting, in the committee offices or SVCÿ09217 of the Capitol Visitors Center.
(6) Any restrictions imposed upon access to a meeting of the committee shall also apply to the transcript of such meeting, except by special permission of the chairman and ranking member.
(7) In addition to restrictions resulting from the inclusion of any classified information in the transcript of a committee meeting, members and staff shall not discuss with anyone the proceedings of the committee in closed session or reveal information conveyed or discussed in such a session unless that person would have been permitted to attend the session itself, or unless such communication is specifically authorized by the chairman, the ranking member, or in the case of staff, by the staff director or minority staff director. A record shall be kept of all such authorizations.
(1) All noncurrent records of the committee are governed by Rule XI of the Standing Rules of the Senate and by S. Res. 474 (96th Congress). Any classified transcripts transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration under Rule XI may not be made available for public use unless they have been subject to declassification review in accordance with applicable laws or Executive orders.
(2) Any transcript or classified committee report, or any portion thereof, may be declassified, in accordance with applicable laws or Executive orders, sooner than the time period provided for under S. Res. 474 if:
(A) the chairman originates such action, with the concurrence of the ranking member;
(B) the other current members of the committee who participated in such meeting or report have been notified of the proposed declassification, and have not objected thereto, except that the committee by majority vote may overrule any objections thereby raised to early declassification; and
(C) the executive departments that participated in the meeting or originated the classified information have been consulted and consented to the declassification.
RULE 13 -- CLASSIFIED INFORMATION
(a) The handling of classified information in the Senate is governed by S. Res. 243 (100th Congress), which established the Office of Senate Security. All handling of classified information by the committee shall be consistent with the procedures set forth in the United States Senate Security Manual issued by the Office of Senate Security.
(b) The chief clerk is the security manager for the committee. The chief clerk shall be responsible for implementing the provisions of the Senate Security Manual and for serving as the committee liaison to the Office of Senate Security. The staff director, in consultation with the minority staff director, may appoint an alternate security manager as circumstances warrant.
(c) Classified material may only be transported between Senate offices by appropriately cleared staff members who have been specifically authorized to do so by the security manager.
(d) In general, Senators and staff undertake to confine their access to classified information on the basis of a ``need to know'' such information related to their committee responsibilities.
(e) The staff director is authorized to make such administrative regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this rule.
RULE 14 -- STAFF
(1) The staff works for the committee as a whole, under the general supervision of the chairman of the committee, and the immediate direction of the staff director, except that such part of the staff as is designated minority staff shall be under the general supervision of the ranking member and under the immediate direction of the minority staff director.
(2) Any member of the committee should feel free to call upon the staff at any time for assistance in connection with committee business. Members of the Senate not members of the committee who call upon the staff for assistance from time to time should be given assistance subject to the overriding responsibility of the staff to the committee.
(3) The staff's primary responsibility is with respect to bills, resolutions, treaties, and nominations and other matters within the jurisdiction of the committee. In addition to carrying out assignments from the committee and its individual members, the staff has a responsibility to originate suggestions for committee or subcommittee consideration. The staff also has a responsibility to make suggestions to individual members regarding matters of special interest to such members.
(4) It is part of the staff's duty to keep itself as well informed as possible in regard to developments affecting foreign relations and national security and in regard to the administration of foreign programs of the United States. Significant trends or developments which might otherwise escape notice should be called to the attention of the committee, or of individual Senators with particular interests.
(5) The staff shall pay due regard to the constitutional separation of powers between the Senate and the executive branch. It therefore has a responsibility to help the committee bring to bear an independent, objective judgment of proposals by the executive branch and when appropriate to originate sound proposals of its own. At the same time, the staff shall avoid impinging upon the day-to-day conduct of foreign affairs.
(6) In those instances when committee action requires the expression of minority views, the staff shall assist the minority as fully as the majority to the end that all points of view may be fully considered by members of the committee and of the Senate. The staff shall bear in mind that under our constitutional system it is the responsibility of the elected members of the Senate to determine legislative issues in the light of as full and fair a presentation of the facts as the staff may be able to obtain.
(1) The staff shall regard its relationship to the committee as a privileged one, in the nature of the relationship of a lawyer to a client. In order to protect this relationship and the mutual confidence which must prevail if the committee-staff relationship is to be a satisfactory and fruitful one, the following criteria shall apply:
(A) members of the staff shall not be identified with any special interest group in the field of foreign relations or allow their names to be used by any such group;
(B) members of the staff shall not accept public speaking engagements or write for publication in the field of foreign relations without specific advance permission from the staff director, or, in the case of minority staff, from the minority staff director. In the case of the staff director and the minority staff director, such advance permission shall be obtained from the chairman or the ranking member, as appropriate; and
(C) staff shall not discuss their private conversations with members of the committee without specific advance permission from the Senator or Senators concerned.
(2) The staff shall not discuss with anyone the proceedings of the committee in closed session or reveal information conveyed or discussed in such a session unless that person would have been permitted to attend the session itself, or unless such communication is specifically authorized by the staff director or minority staff director. Unauthorized disclosure of information from a closed session or of classified information shall be cause for immediate dismissal and may, in the case of some kinds of information, be grounds for criminal prosecution.
RULE 15 -- STATUS AND AMENDMENT OF RULES
(a) Status.--In addition to the foregoing, the Committee on Foreign Relations is governed by the Standing Rules of the Senate, which shall take precedence in the event of a clear inconsistency. In addition, the jurisdiction and responsibilities of the committee with respect to certain matters, as well as the timing and procedure for their consideration in committee, may be governed by statute.
(b) Amendment.--These rules may be modified, amended, or repealed by a majority of the committee, provided that a notice in writing of the proposed change has been given to each member at least 48 hours prior to the meeting at which action thereon is to be taken. However, rules of the committee which are based upon Senate rules may not be superseded by committee vote alone.