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RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF

PRIVATE CLAIMS BILLS

In connection with its jurisdiction over claims, the subcommittee considers private bills extending relief to individuals who have no other existing remedy. The right to petition for a redress of grievances is guaranteed by the first amendment to the Constitution. When called upon to decide whether relief should be granted to persons seeking redress of grievances, the subcommittee is guided by principles of equity and justice. The task of the subcommittee is to determine whether the equities and circumstances of a case create a moral obligation on the part of the Government to extend relief to an individual.

House rule XI provides that the rules of the House are the rules of its committees and subcommittees so far as they are applicable to committee and subcommittee functions. That rule contains specific provisions concerning committee operation and further, in rule XI (2), provides for written committee rules which are to be consistent with the rules of the House. Subject to these requirements, each committee is free to prescribe additional rules it finds necessary to conduct its business. This is recognized in Judiciary Committee rule I which expressly incorporates the applicable House rules. The balance of the committee's rules are addressed to subjects and situations which, from a procedural standpoint, are peculiar to it: Days of the meetings; publication of agenda; hearings; proxy voting; broadcasting; jurisdiction, powers, and duties of standing subcommittees; and non-legislative reports. Committee rule VII provides that,

* * * Subcommittee chairmen shall set dates for hearings and meetings of their respective subcommittees after consultation with the chairman and other subcommittee chairmen with a view toward avoiding simultaneous scheduling of full Committee and subcommittee meetings or hearings whenever possible.

The Subcommittee rules set out in this booklet implement these purposes and principles. These rules have been developed based upon the past exercise of its jurisdiction over private legislation and are intended to implement the provisions of the rules of the House governing the consideration and disposition of private bills.

RULES 1. No consideration shall be given to any bill until the subcommittee has received sufficient evidence. Upon request, the clerk will secure departmental or agency comments on the bill.

2. The chairman may, at his or her discretion, schedule the bill for a hearing.

3. Presentation or oral evidence at hearings on private bills shall be limited to 15 minutes for each side. This rule may be modified by order of the chairman in his discretion.

4. The subcommittee shall not consider any claim which accrued more than 15 years before January 1 of the year in which the first session of the current Congress convenes, unless the claim was favorably reported during the immediately preceding Congress, but this rule will not bar the consideration of those claims which were finally disposed of after that date by a court of Government agency. This rule may be waived only upon order of two-thirds of the subcommittee, present and voting.

NOTE

TIME RULE

An exception is provided in the rule for claims antedating the time limit which had been favorably reported during the immediately preceding Congress. This enables the subcommittee to continue its consideration of claims which had previously been approved by the committee, but not enacted by the Congress.

The rule applies to all claims regardless of the form of the bill. Thus, the rule cannot be avoided by changing a bill which would ordinarily call for settlement by decision of the Congress and direct appropriation into a jurisdictional bill, so as to require determination of the claim by a court or some other authority. It should be noted that the rule applies to the date a claim “accrued,” not the date it was presented to the Congress, thereby differing from the ordinary statute of limitations, the operation of which is estopped by a formal presentation of the matter, or the filing of suit. Consequently, many claims heretofore presented to the committee cannot, and will not, under the rule, be considered by it. The rule penalizes either for delay in presentation of a claim or delay in the assertion of the claim before the Congress after its presentation.

5. The subcommittee shall not consider any claim adversely reported by it at a previous consideration and tabled by the full committee except upon presentation of new and substantial evidence disclosing a material change in facts which, in the chairman's opinion, is sufficient to warrant reopening the case.

NOTE

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BILLS ADVERSELY REPORTED OR REJECTED While this rule is of long standing, many of the private bills referred to the subcommittee concern claims considered and rejected by it in previous years. The number of bills referred to the subcommittee make it impossible to continue to review cases which were the subjects of unfavorable consideration at a prior time. The subcommittee has adopted the position that a claim considered by it and rejected at a previous consideration should viewed in the same light as a case which has been adversely decided by a court. In a judicial proceeding, a second case involving the same subject matter would be summarily dismissed by the court, and the subcommittee has concluded that the same considerations apply in matters brought before

In applying the exception contained in the rule, the subcommittee has required that the evidence be material in that it relate to the facts of the case and the change in the facts referred to in the rule. Further, the evidence must not have been available, or, with due diligence, capable of having been presented at the time of the prior consideration.

6. The subcommittee shall not consider any claim filed with the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Department of Labor, considered on its merits and disallowed; or any bill awarding or increasing compensation to an employee or his dependents in lieu of that prescribed by Chapter 81.—Compensation for Work Injuries, of title 5, United States Code (formerly the Federal Employees' Compensation Act of September 7, 1916, as amended), or otherwise interfering with the provisions and compensations of that chapter, except bills to waive the limitations of time contained in sections 8119, 8121 and 8122, of chapter 81 of title 5 (or of sections 15 to 20, inclusive, of the previous act), and these sections may be waived only upon order of two-thirds of the subcommittee, present and voting.

NOTE

EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION This rule has the effect of removing from the committee's jurisdiction the subject of employees' compensation in any but the one permissible form, the time limitation waiver. The subject is not now nor has it ever been considered a proper one for the committee, and it is specifically covered, in all phases, by the codified provisions of the Federal Employees' Compensation Act of September 7, 1916, as amended, now set forth in chapter 81 of title 5, U.S.C. and administered thereunder by the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Department of Labor.

Bills to waive the limitations of time contained in sections 8119, 8121 and 8122 of chapter 81 of title 5, U.S.C. (formerly sections 15 to 20, inclusive, of the Employees' Compensation Act of September 7, 1916), may be considered upon vote of two-thirds of the subcommittee. These limitations relate to the time within which claims must be filed with the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Department of Labor, the longest allowable period being 5 years. Bills authorizing

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