House Rule XVI - Motions and amendments

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Changes to rule in the 110th Congress

There were no changes to the rule in the 110th Congress

Rule XVI for the 110th Congress

Motions

1. Every motion entertained by the Speaker shall be reduced to writing on the demand of a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner and, unless it is withdrawn the same day, shall be entered on the Journal with the name of the Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner offering it. A dilatory motion may not be entertained by the Speaker.

Withdrawal

2. When a motion is entertained, the Speaker shall state it or cause it to be read aloud by the Clerk before it is debated. The motion then shall be in the possession of the House but may be withdrawn at any time before a decision or amendment thereon.

Question of consideration

3. When a motion or proposition is entertained, the question, ‘‘Will the House now consider it?’’ may not be put unless demanded by a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner.

Precedence of motions

4. (a) When a question is under debate, only the following motions may be entertained (which shall have precedence in the following order):

(1) To adjourn.
(2) To lay on the table.
(3) For the previous question.
(4) To postpone to a day certain.
(5) To refer.
(6) To amend.
(7) To postpone indefinitely.
(b) A motion to adjourn, to lay on the table, or for the previous question shall be decided without debate. A motion to postpone to a day certain, to refer, or to postpone indefinitely, being decided, may not be allowed again on the same day at the same stage of the question.
(c)(1) It shall be in order at any time for the Speaker, in his discretion, to entertain a motion—
(A) that the Speaker be authorized to declare a recess; or
(B) that when the House adjourns it stand adjourned to a day and time certain.
(2) Either motion shall be of equal privilege with the motion to adjourn and shall be decided without debate.

Divisibility

5. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a question shall be divided on the demand of a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner before the question is put if it includes propositions so distinct in substance that, one being taken away, a substantive proposition remains.

(b)(1) A motion or resolution to elect members to a standing committee of the House, or to a joint standing committee, is not divisible.
(2) A resolution or order reported by the Committee on Rules providing a special order of business is not divisible.
(c) A motion to strike and insert is not divisible, but rejection of a motion to strike does not preclude another motion to amend.

Amendments

6. When an amendable proposition is under consideration, a motion to amend and a motion to amend that amendment shall be in order, and it also shall be in order to offer a further amendment by way of substitute for the original motion to amend, to which one amendment may be offered but which may not be voted on until the original amendment is perfected. An amendment may be withdrawn in the House at any time before a decision or amendment thereon. An amendment to the title of a bill or resolution shall not be in order until after its passage or adoption and shall be decided without debate.

Germaneness

7. No motion or proposition on a subject different from that under consideration shall be admitted under color of amendment.

Readings

8. Bills and joint resolutions are subject to readings as follows:

(a) A first reading is in full when the bill or joint resolution is first considered.
(b) A second reading occurs only when the bill or joint resolution is read for amendment in a Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union under clause 5 of rule XVIII.
(c) A third reading precedes passage when the Speaker states the question: ‘‘Shall the bill [or joint resolution] be engrossed [when applicable] and read a third time?’’ If that question is decided in the affirmative, then the bill or joint resolution shall be read the final time by title and then the question shall be put on its passage.

Rule XVI for the 109th Congress

Motions

1. Every motion entertained by the Speaker shall be reduced to writing on the demand of a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner and, unless it is withdrawn the same day, shall be entered on the Journal with the name of the Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner offering it. A dilatory motion may not be entertained by the Speaker.

Withdrawal

2. When a motion is entertained, the Speaker shall state it or cause it to be read aloud by the Clerk before it is debated. The motion then shall be in the possession of the House but may be withdrawn at any time before a decision or amendment thereon.

Question of consideration

3. When a motion or proposition is entertained, the question, “Will the House now consider it?” may not be put unless demanded by a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner.

Precedence of motions

4. (a) When a question is under debate, only the following motions may be entertained (which shall have precedence in the following order):

(1) To adjourn.
(2) To lay on the table.
(3) For the previous question.
(4) To postpone to a day certain.
(5) To refer.
(6) To amend.
(7) To postpone indefinitely.
(b) A motion to adjourn, to lay on the table, or for the previous question shall be decided without debate. A motion to postpone to a day certain, to refer, or to postpone indefinitely, being decided, may not be allowed again on the same day at the same stage of the question.
(c)(1) It shall be in order at any time for the Speaker, in his discretion, to entertain a motion_
(A) that the Speaker be authorized to declare a recess; or
(B) that when the House adjourns it stand adjourned to a day and time certain.
(2) Either motion shall be of equal privilege with the motion to adjourn and shall be decided without debate.

Divisibility

5. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a question shall be divided on the demand of a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner before the question is put if it includes propositions so distinct in substance that, one being taken away, a substantive proposition remains.

(b)(1) A motion or resolution to elect members to a standing committee of the House, or to a joint standing committee, is not divisible.
(2) A resolution or order reported by the Committee on Rules providing a special order of business is not divisible.
(c) A motion to strike and insert is not divisible, but rejection of a motion to strike does not preclude another motion to amend.

Amendments

6. When an amendable proposition is under consideration, a motion to amend and a motion to amend that amendment shall be in order, and it also shall be in order to offer a further amendment by way of substitute for the original motion to amend, to which one amendment may be offered but which may not be voted on until the original amendment is perfected. An amendment may be withdrawn in the House at any time before a decision or amendment thereon. An amendment to the title of a bill or resolution shall not be in order until after its passage or adoption and shall be decided without debate.

Germaneness

7. No motion or proposition on a subject different from that under consideration shall be admitted under color of amendment.

Readings

8. Bills and joint resolutions are subject to readings as follows:

(a) A first reading is in full when the bill or joint resolution is first considered.
(b) A second reading occurs only when the bill or joint resolution is read for amendment in a Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union under clause 5 of rule XVIII.
(c) A third reading precedes passage when the Speaker states the question: “Shall the bill [or joint resolution] be engrossed [when applicable] and read a third time?” If that question is decided in the affirmative, then the bill or joint resolution shall be read the final time by title and then the question shall be put on its passage.

Articles and Resources

References

Note: Updates to the rules for the 110th Congress were obtained by Congresspedia staff from House Rules Committee staff. The full source is available upon request.

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