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PAIRING, a practice whereby two members of Congress of opposing parties who plan to be absent agree that, during a specified period, they will refrain from voting in person but will permit their names to be recorded on opposite sides of each question, thereby not affecting the vote. It was first used in the House of Representatives as early as 1824 and was first openly avowed in 1840, but pairing was not officially recognized in the House rules until 1880. Pairing is also permitted in the Senate, and is customary, though not universal, in state legislatures.


Fenno, Richard. The United States Senate: A Bicameral Perspective. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1982.

Mason, Paul. Manual of Procedure for Legislative and Other Government Bodies. New York: 1953.

P. OrmanRay/a. g.

See alsoBlocs ; Majority Rule ; Reed Rules ; Rules of the House .

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pairing (synapsis) The close association between homologous chromosomes that develops during the first prophase of meiosis. The two chromosomes move together and a synaptonemal complex of proteins forms between them, ensuring exact pairing of corresponding points along their lengths as they lie side by side. The resulting structure is called a bivalent.

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