Points of Order

Decisions about spending, revenue and budget processes established in a budget resolution are enforced in the House and Senate mainly through a procedural hurdle known as a "point of order." Points of order may be raised by a House or Senate member against legislation or an amendment if it violates spending and revenue levels as contained in the most recent budget resolution or if it violates other budget laws and rules. A point of order, if raised, removes a bill, amendment, or offending provision from legislative consideration. In the House, points of order can be waived by a simple majority vote. In the Senate, some points of order can be waived with a simple majority, but most require a higher threshold to waive, usually 60 votes. It is important to note, however, that a member of the House or Senate must first raise a point of order to strike an offending provision or prevent the consideration of legislation or an amendment that violates a budget rule. Often times a point of order applies to a bill or an amendment, but no Member will raise it.

Mandatory and Discretionary Spending Allocations

This point of order is designed to enforce the 302(a) spending allocations made to each congressional committee as adopted in the budget resolution.

Spending and Revenue Aggregates

This point of order is designed to enforce total spending and revenue levels that Congress adopts in the budget resolution.

Advance Appropriations Limits

This rule is designed to limit which programs can be funded through advance appropriations, or appropriations that are not made available until the following fiscal year.

Unfunded Mandates

This point of order applies to legislation or an amendment that would impose an unfunded mandate on state or local governments.

Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO)

Pay-as-you-go, commonly referred to as PAYGO, is a Congressional budget rule enforced by a point of order that is designed to make it more difficult for Congress to enact legislation that would worsen the deficit over the upcoming six- and 11-year periods.


The "Byrd Rule" point of order (313) applies to provisions in a reconciliation bill (or amendments) that do not have as their primary effect reducing or increasing federal revenues or spending.