Rules for the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship - 115th Congress

Quorums

(a) (1) A majority of the Members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum for reporting any legislative measure or nomination.

(2) One-third of the Members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of routine business, provided that one Minority Member is present. The term "routine business'' includes, but is not limited to, the consideration of legislation pending before the Committee and any amendments thereto, and voting on such amendments, and steps in an investigation including, but not limited to, authorizing the issuance of a subpoena.

(3) In hearings, whether in public or closed session, a quorum for the asking of testimony, including sworn testimony, shall consist of one Member of the Committee.

(b) Proxies will be permitted in voting upon the business of the Committee. A Member who is unable to attend a business meeting may submit a proxy vote on any matter, in writing, or through oral or written personal instructions to a Member of the Committee or staff. Proxies shall in no case be counted for establishing a quorum.

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Hearings, Subpoenas, & Legal Counsel

(a) (1) The Chair of the Committee may initiate a hearing of the Committee on his or her authority or upon his or her approval of a request by any Member of the Committee. If such request is by the Ranking Member, a decision shall be communicated to the Ranking Member within 7 business days. Written notice of all hearings, including the title, a description of the hearing, and a tentative witness list shall be given at least 5 business days in advance, where practicable, to all Members of the Committee.

(2) Hearings of the Committee shall not be scheduled outside the District of Columbia unless specifically authorized by the Chair and the Ranking Minority Member or by consent of a majority of the Committee. Such consent may be given informally, without a meeting, but must be in writing.

(b) (1) Any Member of the Committee shall be empowered to administer the oath to any witness testifying as to fact.

(2) The Chair and Ranking Member shall be empowered to call an equal number of witnesses to a Committee hearing. Subject to Senate Standing Rule 26(4)(d), such number shall exclude any Administration witness unless such witness would be the sole hearing witness, in which case the Ranking Member shall be entitled to invite one witness. The preceding two sentences shall not apply when a witness appears as the nominee. Interrogation of witnesses at hearings shall be conducted on behalf of the Committee by Members of the Committee or such Committee staff as is authorized by the Chair or Ranking Minority Member.

(3) Witnesses appearing before the Committee shall file with the Clerk of the Committee a written statement of the prepared testimony at least two business days in advance of the hearing at which the witness is to appear unless this requirement is waived by the Chair and the Ranking Minority Member.

(c) Any witness summoned to a public or closed hearing may be accompanied by counsel of his or her own choosing, who shall be permitted while the witness is testifying to advise the witness of his or her legal rights. Failure to obtain counsel will not excuse the witness from appearing and testifying.

(d) Subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses or the production of memoranda, documents, records, and other materials may be authorized by the Chair with the consent of the Ranking Minority Member or by the consent of a majority of the Members of the Committee. Such consent may be given informally, without a meeting, but must be in writing. The Chair may subpoena attendance or production without the consent of the Ranking Minority Member when the Chair has not received notification from the Ranking Minority Member of disapproval of the subpoena within 72 hours of being notified of the intended subpoena, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Subpoenas shall be issued by the Chair or by the Member of the Committee designated by him or her. A subpoena for the attendance of a witness shall state briefly the purpose of the hearing and the matter or matters to which the witness is expected to testify. A subpoena for the production of memoranda, documents, records, and other materials shall identify the papers or materials required to be produced with as much particularity as is practicable.

(e) The Chair shall rule on any objections or assertions of privilege as to testimony or evidence in response to subpoenas or questions of Committee Members and staff in hearings.

(f) Testimony may be submitted to the formal record for a period not less than two weeks following a hearing or roundtable, unless otherwise agreed to by Chair and Ranking Member. 

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Meetings

(a) The regular meeting day of the Committee shall be the first Thursday of each month unless otherwise directed by the Chair. All other meetings may be called by the Chair as he or she deems necessary, on 5 business days notice where practicable. If at least three Members of the Committee desire the Chair to call a special meeting, they may file in the office of the Committee a written request therefore, addressed to the Chair. Immediately thereafter, the Clerk of the Committee shall notify the Chair of such request. If, within 3 calendar days after the filing of such request, the Chair fails to call the requested special meeting, which is to be held within 7 calendar days after the filing of such request, a majority of the Committee Members may file in the Office of the Committee their written notice that a special Committee meeting will be held, specifying the date, hour and place thereof, and the Committee shall meet at that time and place. Immediately upon the filing of such notice, the Clerk of the Committee shall notify all Committee Members that such special meeting will be held and inform them of its date, hour and place. If the Chair is not present at any regular, additional or special meeting, such member of the Committee as the Chair shall designate shall preside.  For any meeting or hearing of the Committee, the Ranking Member may delegate to any Minority Member the authority to serve as Ranking Member, and that Minority Member shall be afforded all the rights and responsibilities of the Ranking Member for the duration of that meeting or hearing. Notice of any designation shall be provided to the Chief Clerk as early as practicable.

 

(b) It shall not be in order for the Committee to consider any amendment in the first degree proposed to any measure under consideration by the Committee unless an electronic copy of such amendment has been delivered to the Clerk of the Committee at least 2 business days prior to the meeting. Following receipt of all amendments, the Clerk shall disseminate the amendments to all Members of the Committee. This subsection may be waived by agreement of the Chair and Ranking Member or by a majority vote of the members of the Committee.

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Confidential Information

(a) No confidential testimony taken by, or confidential material presented to, the Committee in executive session, or any report of the proceedings of a closed hearing, or confidential testimony or material submitted pursuant to a subpoena, shall be made public, either in whole or in part or by way of summary, unless authorized by a majority of the Members. Other confidential material or testimony submitted to the Committee may be disclosed if authorized by the Chair with the consent of the Ranking Member.

(b) Persons asserting confidentiality of documents or materials submitted to the Committee offices shall clearly designate them as such on their face. Designation of submissions as confidential does not prevent their use in furtherance of Committee business.

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Amendment of Rules

The foregoing rules may be added to, modified or amended; provided, however, that not less than a majority of the entire Membership so determined at a regular meeting with due notice, or at a meeting specifically called for that purpose.

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Media & Broadcasting

(a) At the discretion of the Chair, public meetings of the Committee may be televised, broadcasted, or recorded in whole or in part by a member of the Senate Press Gallery or an employee of the Senate. Any such person wishing to televise, broadcast, or record a Committee meeting must request approval of the Chair by submitting a written request to the Committee Office by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting. Notice of televised or broadcasted hearings shall be provided to the Ranking Minority Member as soon as practicable.

(b) During public meetings of the Committee, any person using a camera, microphone, or other electronic equipment may not position or use the equipment in a way that interferes with the seating, vision, or hearing of Committee members or staff on the dais, or with the orderly process of the meeting.

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Subcommittees

The Committee shall not have standing subcommittees.

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Nominations

In considering a nomination, the Committee shall conduct an investigation or review of the nominee's experience, qualifications, suitability, and integrity to serve in the position to which he or she has been nominated. In any hearings on the nomination, the nominee shall be called to testify under oath on all matters relating to his or her nomination for office. To aid in such investigation or review, each nominee may be required to submit a sworn detailed statement including biographical, financial, policy, and other information which the Committee may request. The Committee may specify which items in such statement are to be received on a confidential basis.

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Jurisdiction

Per Rule XXV(1) of the Standing Rules of the Senate:

(1) Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to which committee shall be referred all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating to the Small Business Administration;

(2) Any proposed legislation reported by such committee which relates to matters other than the functions of the Small Business Administration shall, at the request of the chairman of any standing committee having jurisdiction over the subject matter extraneous to the functions of the Small Business Administration, be considered and reported by such standing committee prior to its consideration by the Senate; and likewise measures reported by other committees directly relating to the Small Business Administration shall, at the request of the Chair of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, be referred to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship for its consideration of any portion of the measure dealing with the Small Business Administration and be reported by this committee prior to its consideration by the Senate.

(3) Such committee shall also study and survey by means of research and investigation all problems of American small business enterprises, and report thereon from time to time.

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General

All applicable provisions of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Senate Resolutions, and the Legislative Reorganization Acts of 1946 and of 1970 (as amended), shall govern the Committee.

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