It is generally accepted that when a bill (for example) is introduced in one house of Congress, it must be approved by both houses before that Congress adjourns. A bill approved by one house cannot be carried over for approval by the other house across congressional terms. The Constitution does not overtly mandate this (unless the mandate is very subtle).

Is there an "official" mechanism encoding this result? For example a statute passed into law at some point; rules of the House and Senate that declare this; or some SCOTUS ruling that mandates this as a result of the common law? Or is this just one of those "it's how we've always done it" things?

  • Interesting question. I assume it's a direct implication of bicamerality and the election cycle, which means all members of the House are re-elected at the start of every Congress. I'll look and see what I can find. – Just a guy Dec 22 '19 at 22:26
  • Have you read the rules of the house and senate? I'm tempted to downvote for lack of research. – phoog Dec 23 '19 at 5:31
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    I found no obvious House or Senate rule. If you found something that actually says that, then you have information that I don't have so you could post it as an answer. – user6726 Dec 23 '19 at 5:46
  • @phoog 6726 is right. This is not in the House or Senate rules. My comment above is basically correct, although lacking the specifics. I will write up a detailed answer, including the relevant sources, in a bit. – Just a guy Dec 23 '19 at 16:46

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