To begin the debate, someone from the committee of origin explains the bill to the members of the chamber. Then the presiding officer (Speaker or President) allows proponents and opponents of the bill to take turns speaking.
- Chamber rules do not allow anyone to speak on the subject more than once. However, people can speak again in the House if unanimous consent is given by the members, and in the Senate if the presiding officer gives permission. Usually consent is given.
- The time length of a debate depends a lot on how late in the session it is. Early on, the discussions may be lengthy, even on insignificant bills. As the session nears its close, discussions are forced to become much shorter and more to the point.