Discharge Rule Law and Legal Definition

The “discharge rule” of the House of Representatives (Rule XV, clause 2) provides a means for the House to bring to the floor for consideration a measure (a bill or resolution) that has not been reported from committee. Normally, each measure introduced in the House is routinely referred to a committee, and cannot receive floor consideration until the committee reports. Because House committees are in general not required to report measures, they can normally prevent House action on any referred measure simply by taking no action thereon. This “gatekeeping” function is a key reason for the central position of committees in shaping the congressional agenda. The discharge rule provides one of the few procedures by which the House can circumvent this gatekeeping role.