Explainer: Congressional Conference Committees

Conference committees are a mechanism used by Congress to reconcile differences between legislation that has been passed in each respective chamber. Identical legislation must be agreed upon by the Senate and the House in order to become a law, according to the U.S. Constitution.

Where the two houses need to reconcile two versions of a bill, a temporary committee is tasked with negotiating a proposal to be passed by both chambers without amendments. Typically, differences arise when a bill originates in the House—and includes tax or appropriations measures —and is then significantly amended by the Senate and sent back to the House.

When the House and Senate agree to form a conference committee to resolve differences in legislation, the process is as follows:

 

The National Immigration Forum would like to thank Rachel Shaheen, policy intern, for her extensive contributions to this explainer.

Download Resources

Learn More

Read more about Department of Homeland Security – President’s Budget Request Fiscal Year (FY) 2018

Bill Summary

Department of Homeland Security – President’s Budget Request Fiscal Year (FY) 2018

Read more about DHS Announces Rule That Would Undermine Protections for Migrant Children

Press Release

DHS Announces Rule That Would Undermine Protections for Migrant Children

Read more about Three Generations, One Migration Journey

Podcast

Three Generations, One Migration Journey