The U.S. House Clerk’s Office numbers amendments in the order that they were offered for consideration/voting. Since our data comes directly from the House Clerk’s Office, that numeric value is our source of truth for amendment numbers.
However, other text fields and data sources will number amendments in the order that they were introduced into committee. This number can also be surfaced by the House Clerk’s Office in the amendment author field.
Here’s a quick explanation on the difference and how to tell the two apart, using the National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2020 (H.R. 2500) as an example.
Here’s a screenshot from congress.gov website for the Blumenauer amendment to H.R. 2500 –
Note the two red boxes in the screenshot above. The upper box in the overview panel contains the amendment code from the house clerk (A023), while the second box in the description tab contains a different amendment number (No. 33).
Moving over to House Clerk’s website for the roll call vote for this amendment we see the following page –
Here, we see that the Amendment Author field numbers the Blumenauer Amendment as “No. 33”; however, if we inspect the XML response for this page, we see that the amendment number field lines up with the amendment code from earlier, A023
<congress>116</congress> <session>1st</session> <committee>U.S. House of Representatives</committee> <rollcall-num>455</rollcall-num> <legis-num>H R 2500</legis-num> <vote-question>On Agreeing to the Amendment</vote-question> <amendment-num>23</amendment-num> <amendment-author>Blumenauer of Oregon Part B Amendment No. 33</amendment-author>
These different amendment numbers are the product of two different numbering systems: one defined when the amendment is introduced into committee, and another when the amendment is put up for consideration.
The number for Amendment No. 33 can be found in the 116th session’s 143rd House Report when amendments were introduced in committee:
The amendment number returned as the amendment code is from when the amendments were presented for consideration/votes in the congressional record Vol. 165 No. 116 (this is the second sitting for voting on amendments, there were more earlier here)
In the above screenshot, notice how the amendment numbers jump around – from 33 to 34, to 44; this is because every amendment that is presented before the committee is not submitted for consideration. The Blumenauer amendment we’ve been looking into is the 33rd amendment presented before the committee, but only the 23rd amendment presented for consideration. The other amendments put up for consideration follow this same numbering scheme (amendment No. 34, for example, has the amendment code A024).
Because the votes product is focused on votes cast, we use that amendments considered number. Therefore, the roll call votes that we display for the Bluemaner Amendment will be for Amendment 23 to H.R. 2500, using the numerical value provided by the US House Clerk’s Office.
If you have further questions or feedback on this topic, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].