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What is the US Senate Manual?

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  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2014
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The US Senate Manual contains the rules, orders, and resolutions concerning the business of the United States Senate. It is an important handbook for each senator that has been used since 1888, and is updated each Congressional term. It was unofficially pre-dated by Thomas Jefferson’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States. The new version of the Senate Manual is prepared by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, and contains many important documents.

The Senate Manual begins with a title page and some preliminary pages. These are followed by the rules, laws, and procedures of the Senate, including: standing rules of the Senate; orders and resolutions affecting the business of the Senate; regulation of the Senate wing and senate office buildings; rules for impeachment trials; and a set of indexes.

These sections then lead into the general and permanent laws relating to the Senate, which is an extract from the United States Code. This section of the Senate Manual includes: a table of contents and another preliminary text; general provisions for Congress and for the president; the flag and seal of the Senate; a description of the government of the states; and laws relating to the Armed Forces, banks and banking, the Coast Guard, commerce and trade, criminal procedure, and customs duties.

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Many of these laws in the Senate Manual are widely known to Senators, and many do not apply to Senators. They are compiled as a compendium of the information essential to those governing the country. The laws continue with foreign relations and internal revenue codes; and rules on the judiciary, postal service, public buildings, public contracts, and public printing.

The Senate Manual is then padded with a collection of important American historical documents. These serve as reminders of the governing of the country, and of the principles upon which the country was founded and ran for years. Among the documents in this section are the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Ordinance of 1787, and the Constitution of the United States, complete with all of its amendments.

Closing the Senate Manual is an index and a series of statistical data. Lists are given of many past Senate members and other important governmental offices, including a compiling of the Presidents Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Supreme Court Justices, cabinet officers, and representatives. Following these are election statistics including electoral votes, and information on the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands on the last pages of the Senate Manual.

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