Joint Committee of Congress on the Library
Created on January 26, 1802 (2 Stat. 129), the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library is the oldest continuing joint committee of the U.S. Congress. The Committee has oversight of the operations of the Library of Congress, as well as management of the National Statuary Hall Collection, the U.S. Botanic Garden, and works of fine art in the Capitol. Membership consists of the chairman and three other Members of the Committee on House Administration, the chairman of the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee, and the chairman and four other Members of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. The chairmanship of the Committee alternates between the House and Senate with each Congress.
Joint Committee of Congress on the Library Rules for the 116th Congress
Title I - Meetings of the Committee
- Regular meetings may be called by the Chair, with the concurrence of the Vice-Chair, as may be deemed necessary or pursuant to the provision of paragraph 3 of rule XXVI of the Standings Rules of the Senate.
- Meetings of the committee, including meetings to conduct hearings, shall be open to the public, except that a meeting or series of meetings by the committee 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 subparagraphs (A) through (F) would require the meeting to be closed followed immediately by a recorded vote in open session by a majority of the members of the committee when it is determined that the matters to be discussed or the testimony to be taken at such meeting or meetings –
- (a) 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;
- (b) will relate solely to matters of the committee staff personal or internal staff management or procedures;
- (c) will tend to charge an individual with a 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 privacy of an individual;
- (d) 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 interest of effective law enforcement;
- (e) will disclose information relating to the trade secrets or financial or commercial information pertaining specifically to a given person if - 1) an Act of Congress requires the information to be kept confidential by Government officers and employees; or 2) 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 benefit, and is required to be kept secret in order to prevent undue injury to the competitive position of such person; or
- (f) may divulge matters required to kept confidential under the provisions of law or Government regulation. (Paragraph 5(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate.)
- Written notices of committee meetings will normally be sent by the committee’s staff director to all members at least 3 days in advance. In addition, the committee staff will email or telephone reminders of committee meetings to all members of the committee or to the appropriate staff assistants in their offices.
- A copy of the committee’s intended agenda enumerating separate items of committee business will normally be sent to all members of the committee by the staff director at least 1 day in advance of all meetings. This does not preclude any member of the committee from raising appropriate non-agenda topics.
- Any witness who is to appear before the committee in any hearing shall file with the clerk of the committee at least 3 business days before the date of his or her appearance, a written statement of his or her proposed testimony and an executive summary thereof, in such form as the Chair may direct, unless the Chair waived such a requirement for good cause.
Title II - Quorums
- Pursuant to paragraph 7(a)(1) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules, 4 members of the committee shall constitute a quorum.
- Pursuant to paragraph 7(a)(2) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules, 2 members of the committee shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of taking testimony; provided, however, once a quorum is established, any one member can continue to take such testimony.
- Under no circumstance may proxies be considered for the establishment of a quorum.
Title III - Voting
- Voting in the committee on any issue will normally be by voice vote.
- If a third of the members present so demand, a recorded vote will be taken on any question by roll call.
- The results of the roll call votes taken in any meeting upon a measure, or any amendment thereto, shall be stated in the committee report on that measure unless previously announced by the committee, and such report or announcement shall be include a tabulation of the votes cast in favor and the votes cast in opposition to each measure and amendment by each member of the committee. (Paragraph 7(b) and (c) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules.)
- Proxy voting shall be allowed on all measures and matters before the committee. However, the vote of the committee to report a measure or matters shall require the concurrence of a majority of the members of the committee who are physically present at the time of the vote. Proxies will be allowed in such cases solely for the purpose of recording a member’s position on the question and then only in those instances when the absentee committee member has been informed of the question and has affirmatively requested that he be recorded. (Paragraph 7(a)(3) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules.)
Title IV - Delegation and Authority to the Chair and Vice Chair
- The Chair and Vice Chair are authorized to sign all necessary vouchers and routine papers for which the committee’s approval is required and to decide in the committee’s behalf on all routine business.
- The Chair is authorized to engage commercial reporters for the preparation of transcripts of committee meetings and hearings.
- The Chair is authorized to issue, on behalf of the committee, regulations normally promulgated by the committee at the beginning of each session.