What is a Discharge Petition?

Democrats in the House of Representatives under the leadership of Congressman Eric Swalwell have filed a motion to discharge the House Committee on Foreign Affairs from consideration of H.R. 356, the Protecting Our Democracy Act.

A Discharge Petition is a parliamentary procedure that brings a bill out of committee and onto the House floor for consideration without a report from the committee. According to Wikipedia, it discharges the committee from further consideration of the bill.

Typically, a committee chair can kill a bill by refusing to ever put the bill on the committee’s agenda for consideration. This often happens with unpopular bills proposed by minority members of Congress.

Discharge petitions are rarely successful because they require the signatures of an absolute majority or 218 House members.