In the Congress of the United States, a closed session (formally a session with closed doors) is a parliamentary procedure for the Senate or the House of Representatives to discuss matters requiring secrecy.
Parliamentary procedure is the body of rules, ethics and customs governing meetings and other operations of clubs, organizations, legislative bodies and other deliberative assemblies.
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C.
The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national legislature of the United States.
The discussions which take place in a closed session are subject to confidentiality rules and are similar to an executive session, which itself can be open or closed. An executive session is for business which includes the President of the United States.
Confidentiality involves a set of rules or a promise usually executed through confidentiality agreements that limits access or places restrictions on certain types of information.
An executive session is a term for any block within an otherwise open meeting in which minutes are taken separately, outsiders are not present, and the contents of the discussion are treated as confidential. In a deliberative assembly, an executive session has come to mean that the proceedings are secret and members could be punished for violating the secrecy.
The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
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The United States Senate has been called into closed session 54 times since 1929.
Under the Standing Rules of the Senate, a closed session may be called by any senator through a simple motion. Once the motion is seconded, the presiding officer of the Senate directs the Capitol Police to clear the public galleries of spectators and close all doors of the chamber. The Senate floor will be cleared of all persons except the senators and listed parliamentary officers, including the Secretary, the Sergeant at Arms, the Parliamentarian, and certain clerks. These officers are sworn to secrecy. All sitting senators present are called to the floor, and they must surrender any electronic communications equipment including mobile phones and other electronic devices.
The Standing Rules of the Senate are the parliamentary procedures adopted by the United States Senate that govern its procedure. The Senate's power to establish rules derives from Article One, Section 5 of the United States Constitution: "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings..."
In parliamentary procedure, a motion is a formal proposal by a member of a deliberative assembly that the assembly take certain action. Such motions, and the form they take, are specified by the deliberate assembly and/or a pre-agreed volume detailing parliamentary procedure, such as Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised; The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure; or Lord Critine's The ABC of Chairmanship. Motions are used in conducting business in almost all legislative bodies worldwide, and are used in meetings of many church vestries, corporate boards, and fraternal organizations.
In deliberative bodies a second to a proposed motion is an indication that there is at least one person besides the mover that is interested in seeing the motion come before the meeting. It does not necessarily indicate that the seconder favors the motion.
All business is considered secret, including senatorial remarks, votes, and other parliamentary proceedings. The Senate can vote during the session or later to lift the secrecy, at which time the vote and the session proceedings will be published in the Congressional Record.
The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress, published by the United States Government Publishing Office and issued when Congress is in session. Indexes are issued approximately every two weeks. At the end of a session of Congress, the daily editions are compiled in bound volumes constituting the permanent edition. Chapter 9 of Title 44 of the United States Code authorizes publication of the Congressional Record.
If a senator discloses any of the proceedings except as directed by the Senate, the body can vote for expulsion of the member; any officer that does the same would be subject to dismissal. In extreme cases, the Senate could vote the member or official in contempt of Congress.
Expulsion is the most serious form of disciplinary action that can be taken against a Member of Congress. Article I, Section 5 of the United States Constitution provides that "Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member." The processes for expulsion differ somewhat between the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Contempt of Congress is the act of obstructing the work of the United States Congress or one of its committees. Historically, the bribery of a U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative was considered contempt of Congress. In modern times, contempt of Congress has generally applied to the refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by a Congressional committee or subcommittee—usually seeking to compel either testimony or the production of requested documents.
Like the Senate, the House of Representatives may be called into closed session by any Representative through a simple motion and a second. The United States House of Representatives has met in closed session six times since 1825. The most recent closed session was held on 13 March 2008 to discuss classified details of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Program during debate on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 is a United States federal law which establishes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers" suspected of espionage or terrorism. The Act created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It has been repeatedly amended since the September 11 attacks.
The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, also called the FAA and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008, is an Act of Congress that amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It has been used as the legal basis for surveillance programs disclosed by Edward Snowden in 2013, including PRISM.
The Senate Majority and Minority Leaders are two United States senators and members of the party leadership of the United States Senate. These leaders serve as the chief Senate spokespeople for the political parties respectively holding the majority and the minority in the United States Senate, and manage and schedule the legislative and executive business of the Senate. They are elected to their positions in the Senate by the party caucuses: the Senate Democratic Caucus and the Senate Republican Conference.
Cloture, closure, or, informally, a guillotine is a motion or process in parliamentary procedure aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for "the act of terminating something". It was introduced into the Parliament of the United Kingdom by William Ewart Gladstone to overcome the obstructionism of the Irish Parliamentary Party and was made permanent in 1887. It was subsequently adopted by the United States Senate and other legislatures. The name cloture remains in the United States; in Commonwealth countries it is usually closure or, informally, guillotine; in the United Kingdom closure and guillotine are distinct motions.
In United States parliamentary procedure, a discharge petition is a means of bringing a bill out of committee and to the floor for consideration without a report from the committee by "discharging" the committee from further consideration of a bill or resolution.
The Maryland Senate, sometimes referred to as the Maryland State Senate, is the upper house of the General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maryland. Composed of 47 senators elected from an equal number of constituent single-member districts, the Senate is responsible, along with the Maryland House of Delegates, for passage of laws in Maryland, and for confirming executive appointments made by the Governor of Maryland.
In legislatures, a quorum call is used to determine if a quorum is present. Since attendance at debates is not mandatory in most legislatures, it is often the case that a quorum of members is not present while debate is ongoing. A member wishing to delay proceedings may request that the presiding officer determine whether a quorum is present. If a quorum does not appear to be present, debate is suspended.
The Clerk of the United States House of Representatives is an officer of the United States House of Representatives, whose primary duty is to act as the chief record-keeper for the House.
The United States Senate has the authority for meeting in closed session, as described in the Standing Rules of the Senate.
The United States House of Representatives rarely meets in closed session.
A congressional caucus is a group of members of the United States Congress that meets to pursue common legislative objectives. Formally, caucuses are formed as congressional member organizations (CMOs) through the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate and governed under the rules of these chambers. In addition to the term caucus, they are sometimes called conferences, coalitions, study groups, task forces, or working groups. Many other countries use the term parliamentary group—for example, the Parliament of the United Kingdom has many all-party parliamentary groups.
The Gang of Eight is a colloquial term for a set of eight leaders within the United States Congress who are briefed on classified intelligence matters by the executive branch. Specifically, the Gang of Eight includes the leaders of each of the two parties from both the Senate and House of Representatives, and the chairs and ranking minority members of both the Senate Committee and House Committee for intelligence as set forth by.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines is the presiding officer and the highest-ranking official of the lower house of Congress, the House of Representatives, as well as the fourth highest and most powerful official of the Government of the Philippines.
Deliberative assemblies – bodies that use parliamentary procedure to arrive at decisions – use several methods of voting on motions. The regular methods of voting in such bodies are a voice vote, a rising vote, and a show of hands. Additional forms of voting include a recorded vote and balloting.
The United States Senate Journal is a written record of proceedings within the United States Senate in accordance with Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution.
Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House, on any question, shall, at the desire of one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.
Procedures of the United States Congress are established ways of doing legislative business. Congress has two-year terms with one session each year. There are rules and procedures, often complex, which guide how it converts ideas for legislation into laws.