[House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House]
[Chapter 21. Division of the Question for Voting]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]


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              CHAPTER 21 - DIVISION OF THE QUESTION FOR VOTING

                              HOUSE PRACTICE

              A. Generally

  Sec.  1. In General; Form
  Sec.  2. Tests of Divisibility
  Sec.  3. Demanding a Division

              B. Division of Particular Propositions

  Sec.  4. In General
  Sec.  5. Simple or Concurrent Resolutions
  Sec.  6. -- Resolutions Naming Two or More Individuals
  Sec.  7. -- Special Orders
  Sec.  8. Amendments
  Sec.  9. -- En Bloc Amendments
  Sec. 10. Motions to Strike
  Sec. 11. Motions to Strike and Insert
  Sec. 12. Motions to Suspend the Rules
  Sec. 13. Motions to Recommit; Motions to Instruct Conferees
  Sec. 14. Motions to Table
  Sec. 15. Senate Amendments

              C. Consideration of Divided Propositions

  Sec. 16. In General
        Research References
          5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 6106-6162
          8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 3163-3176
          Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. Sec. 42-52
          Manual Sec. Sec. 480-482, 919-921


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                               A. Generally


  Sec. 1 . In General; Form

      Under rule XVI clause 5, a question that consists of two or more 
  separable substantive propositions is subject to a division of the 
  question, if demanded, so as to obtain a separate vote on each 
  proposition. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 42. The procedure is applicable 
  in the Committee of the Whole as well as in the House. See, e.g., 
  Deschler-Brown Ch 29 Sec. 42.12.
      The rule prohibits its application to special orders of business 
  from the Committee on Rules, to propositions electing Members to 
  standing or joint committees, and to a motion to strike and insert. 
  Manual Sec. 919. The entire rule may be suspended by the adoption of a 
  resolution from the Committee on Rules. 7 Cannon Sec. 775.


  Sec. 2 . Tests of Divisibility

      To be divided for a vote, a question must consist of at least two 
  separate and distinct propositions both grammatically and 
  substantively, so that if one proposition is rejected, a separate 
  proposition logically will remain. Manual Sec. 921; 8 Cannon 
  Sec. 3165; Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. Sec. 42.1, 42.3. In passing on a 
  demand for division, the Chair considers only the severability of the 
  propositions and not the merits of the question presented. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 6122.
      The requirement that there must be at least two substantive 
  propositions in order to justify division is strictly enforced. 5 
  Hinds Sec. Sec. 6108-6113. If either proposition, standing alone, is 
  not a distinct substantive proposition, the question is not divisible, 
  even though each portion is grammatically complete. 7 Cannon 
  Sec. Sec. 3165, 3167. However, in dividing a question into separate 
  propositions, some restructuring of the language used is in order. 
  Manual Sec. 921; 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 6114-6118.


  Sec. 3 . Demanding a Division

      A request for a division of the question does not require 
  unanimous consent, and no motion is made. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 
  Sec. 42.4. The Member seeking a division rises and addresses the 
  Chair:

      Member: Mr. Speaker, I demand a division of the question.
      Speaker: The gentleman will indicate the proposition(s) on which 
    he desires a separate vote. . . .
      Speaker: The gentleman requests a division, and that portion of 
    the amendment will be divided for a separate vote.
      [Or]

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      Opponent: Mr. Speaker, I make the point of order that the question 
    is not susceptible of division, and that the portions indicated by 
    the gentleman do not constitute separate substantive propositions.
      Speaker: The Chair will hear the gentleman.

      A demand for a division of a question is in order even after the 
  previous question has been ordered. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5468, 6149; 8 
  Cannon Sec. 3173. Under rule XVI clause 5, the demand for a division 
  is in order before the question is put to the House for a vote. 
  Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 42.4. The question may not be divided after 
  it has been put or after the yeas and nays have been ordered. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. Sec. 6160-6162. The demand is likewise untimely if the question 
  is one against which a point of order has been raised and is pending. 
  8 Cannon Sec. 3432.
      A demand for a division of the question may be withdrawn. However, 
  this is permitted only by unanimous consent once the Chair has put the 
  question on the first portion to be voted on. Manual Sec. 921; 
  Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 42.11.


                  B. Division of Particular Propositions


  Sec. 4 . In General

           Generally; Distinction Between Bills and Resolutions

      Whether a division of the question may be demanded depends on the 
  nature of the pending matter and on whether it meets the tests of 
  divisibility imposed by rule XVI. Sec. 2, supra. Certain House 
  resolutions--whether simple or concurrent--are subject to the demand 
  when the question is put on agreeing thereto. Sec. 5, infra. However, 
  bills and joint resolutions are not divisible on passage. A separate 
  vote may not be demanded on various provisions set forth in such a 
  measure or on its preamble. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 6144-6147; 8 Cannon 
  Sec. 3172. When the previous question has been ordered on adoption of 
  a measure containing a series of simple resolutions, they may be 
  divided for a vote on demand. 5 Hinds Sec. 6149.
      The question of engrossment and third reading of a bill under rule 
  XVI clause 8 is not subject to a demand for a division of the 
  question. Manual Sec. 943. Certain amendments, such as a compound 
  motion to strike (Sec. 10, infra), may be divided. However, most other 
  motions are not divisible. A motion for the previous question on a 
  proposition and an amendment thereto is not divisible. Manual 
  Sec. 996; Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 46.1. When the previous question 
  is ordered on a measure and a pending amendment, the vote comes first 
  on the amendment, then on the text as perfected or not.

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                                  Appeals

      There may be a division of the question on an appeal from a 
  decision of the Speaker if the decision involves two or more separate 
  and distinct questions. 5 Hinds Sec. 6157.


  Sec. 5 . Simple or Concurrent Resolutions

      A simple or concurrent resolution may be subject to a demand for a 
  division of the question if it satisfies the test of divisibility 
  imposed by rule XVI. Sec. 2, supra. Thus, a concurrent resolution on 
  the budget is subject to a demand for a division of the question if 
  the resolution grammatically and substantively relates to different 
  fiscal years or includes a separate, hortatory section having its own 
  grammatical and substantive meaning. Manual Sec. 921; Deschler-Brown 
  Ch 30 Sec. 42.5. It is in order to demand a division of the question 
  on agreeing to an impeachment resolution so as to obtain a separate 
  vote on each article. Manual Sec. 921; 6 Cannon Sec. 545.
      To be subject to a demand for a division of the question, a 
  resolution must present two or more separate and distinct substantive 
  propositions. It has been held that a resolution (1) censuring a 
  Member and (2) adopting the committee report recommending such censure 
  on the basis of the committee's findings is not divisible because 
  these questions are substantively equivalent. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 
  Sec. 42.2. An adjournment resolution that also authorizes the receipt 
  of veto messages from the President during the adjournment is not 
  subject to a division of the question, as the receipt authority would 
  be nonsensical standing alone. Manual Sec. 921.
      It is not in order to demand a division of the question on matters 
  that are merely incorporated by reference in the pending resolution. 
  For example, when a resolution to adopt a series of rules, referred to 
  but not made a part of the resolution, is before the House, it is not 
  in order to demand a separate vote on each rule. 5 Hinds Sec. 6159.


  Sec. 6 . -- Resolutions Naming Two or More Individuals

      Under rule XVI clause 5, a resolution electing Members to standing 
  or joint committees is not divisible. However, other types of 
  resolutions relating to two or more named individuals may be divided 
  for the purpose of voting. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 49. For example, 
  a resolution confirming the nomination of certain individuals to 
  executive branch offices is subject to a division of the question so 
  as to obtain a separate vote on each nominee. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 
  Sec. 49.2. A resolution with two resolve clauses separately certifying 
  the contemptuous conduct of two individuals is divisible. Manual 
  Sec. 921. Similarly, a resolution with one resolve clause certifying

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  contemptuous conduct of several individuals may be divisible. Manual 
  Sec. 299. But see, Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 49.1.
      A resolution relating to two or more named individuals may be 
  divided even though that may require a grammatical reconstruction of 
  the text. 5 Hinds Sec. 6121. A word that is a mere formality, such as 
  ``resolved,'' is sometimes supplied by interpretation of the Chair. 5 
  Hinds Sec. Sec. 6114-6118.


  Sec. 7 . -- Special Orders

      Under rule XVI clause 5, resolutions reported from the Committee 
  on Rules providing a special order of business are not divisible. 
  However, other types of special rules from that committee are subject 
  to a demand for a division where the resolution contains separate and 
  distinct substantive propositions. For example, a resolution reported 
  from that committee establishing two or more select committees is 
  subject to a demand for a division of the question. Manual Sec. 921.


  Sec. 8 . Amendments

                                 Generally

      Rule XVI clause 5 permits a division of the question on an 
  amendment on the demand of any Member where the amendment is properly 
  divisible into two or more substantive propositions. A division is in 
  order on an amendment if the amendment contains propositions so 
  distinct in substance that, one being taken away, a substantive 
  proposition remains. Manual Sec. 921; Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 42.13. 
  Thus, an amendment offered to an appropriation bill providing that no 
  part of the appropriation may be paid to named individuals may be 
  divided for a separate vote on each name. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 
  Sec. 49.4. An amendment in the form of a motion to strike and insert 
  is not divisible. See Sec. 11, infra.

               Amendments Taken Up in Committee of the Whole

      The rule permitting a division of the question is applicable to an 
  amendment (other than a motion to strike and insert) consisting of two 
  or more substantive propositions under consideration in the Committee 
  of the Whole. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 43. A request for a division 
  of the question on such an amendment may be made at any time before 
  the Chair puts the question thereon. 5 Hinds Sec. 6162. An amendment 
  reported to the House from the Committee of the Whole as a discrete 
  amendment is not subject to a division of the question in the House. 4 
  Hinds Sec. Sec. 4883-4892; generally, see Committees of the Whole.

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               Perfecting Amendments; Substitute Amendments

      An amendment adding language to the pending text is divisible if 
  the language to be added contains two or more distinct propositions. 5 
  Hinds Sec. Sec. 6129, 6133. However, an amendment in the nature of a 
  substitute is not subject to a demand for a division of the question. 
  5 Hinds Sec. 6127; 8 Cannon Sec. 3168. The division of a motion to 
  strike and insert is precluded by House rule. Sec. 11, infra.
      A division of the question may be demanded on an amendment before 
  amendments are adopted thereto, or on the amendment as amended 
  (assuming that perfecting amendments or an adopted substitute do not 
  destroy the divisibility of the amendment as amended). Manual 
  Sec. 921.
      A negative vote on a motion to strike a portion of a pending 
  amendment does not prevent a demand for a division of that portion of 
  the amendment if it is a separate proposition and therefore properly 
  severable. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 43.1.


  Sec. 9 . -- En Bloc Amendments

      Consideration of several amendments en bloc by unanimous consent 
  or otherwise does not prevent a division of the question from being 
  demanded so as to obtain a separate vote on one of the amendments. 
  Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. Sec. 43.4-43.6. In fact, a Member may be 
  permitted to offer several amendments en bloc and then demand a 
  division of the question for a separate vote on each one. Deschler-
  Brown Ch 30 Sec. 43.4. However, amendments en bloc proposing only to 
  transfer appropriations among objects in a general appropriation bill 
  (without increasing the levels of budget authority or outlays in the 
  bill), when considered en bloc pursuant to rule XXI clause 2(f), are 
  not subject to a demand for division of the question in the House or 
  in the Committee of the Whole.


  Sec. 10 . Motions to Strike

      A motion to strike various separate provisions of a pending 
  proposition may be divided for purposes of voting. 8 Cannon Sec. 3166. 
  Thus, an amendment proposing to strike two or more sections of a 
  pending amendment may be divided in order to obtain separate votes on 
  the proposal to strike each section. Manual Sec. 921. However, an 
  amendment proposing to strike a provision in a bill--and to 
  redesignate subsequent paragraphs accordingly--is not subject to a 
  demand for a division because it contains only one substantive 
  proposition. 93-2, Dec. 10, 1974, p 38746. A motion to strike is not 
  grammatically divisible. However, where there is pending a motion to 
  strike a pending provision, a perfecting amendment to the underlying 
  text may be

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  offered to strike a lesser portion of the provision; and the 
  perfecting amendment is voted on first. Deschler Ch 27 
  Sec. Sec. 17.26, 24.13.


  Sec. 11 . Motions to Strike and Insert

      Although a motion to insert may be divisible (Sec. 8, supra), the 
  division of a motion to strike and insert is precluded by rule XVI 
  clause 5(c). Manual Sec. 920. The indivisibility of a motion to strike 
  and insert under clause 5(c) operates not only between the branches of 
  the motion but also within each branch. 8 Cannon Sec. 3169; see also 5 
  Hinds Sec. 6124. An amendment comprising two discrete instructions to 
  strike and insert may be divided. Manual Sec. 921.
      A simple motion to strike may not be offered as a substitute for a 
  motion to strike certain words and insert others, as that would have 
  the effect of dividing the motion to strike and insert. Manual 
  Sec. 920.


  Sec. 12 . Motions to Suspend the Rules

      A question being considered pursuant to a motion to suspend the 
  rules may not be divided for a vote. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 6141-6143; 8 
  Cannon Sec. 3171. Although a proposition may be subject to a division 
  of the question under rule XVI, it cannot be divided if rule XVI is 
  suspended. 5 Hinds Sec. 6143; generally, see Suspension of Rules.


  Sec. 13 . Motions to Recommit; Motions to Instruct Conferees

      A motion to recommit with instructions is not subject to a demand 
  for a division of the question. It is not in order to demand a 
  separate vote even where the motion includes separate branches of 
  instructions to the reporting committee. Manual Sec. 921; 5 Hinds 
  Sec. Sec. 6134-6137; 8 Cannon Sec. 3170. However, an amendment 
  reported forthwith pursuant to instructions contained in a successful 
  motion to recommit may be divided on the question of its adoption if 
  composed of substantively and grammatically distinct propositions. 
  Manual Sec. 921.
      Instructions in a motion to recommit a conference report may not 
  be divided. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 45.2. However, a division has 
  been permitted under rule XXII clause 7(c) (which permits multiple 
  motions to instruct after the conferees have failed to report for 20 
  calendar days and 10 legislative days), provided separate substantive 
  propositions are presented. Manual Sec. 921.

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  Sec. 14 . Motions to Table

      Because a motion to lay on the table is a summary motion, its only 
  purpose being to defeat the pending proposition, it has been held that 
  the motion to table is not subject to a demand for a division of the 
  question. 5 Hinds Sec. 6140. A division of the question is not in 
  order even if the motion is applicable to two or more separate and 
  distinct propositions, such as a series of resolutions. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 6138. A motion to table a resolution and pending amendments is 
  likewise indivisible. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 6139, 6140.


  Sec. 15 . Senate Amendments

                       Generally; Motions to Concur

      On the question of agreeing or disagreeing to a Senate amendment, 
  it is not in order to demand a division so as to vote separately on 
  different portions of the amendment. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 6151, 6156. The 
  amendment must be voted on as a whole. 8 Cannon Sec. 3175. However, 
  when two or more Senate amendments are considered en bloc in the 
  House, a separate vote may be had on each amendment. 8 Cannon 
  Sec. Sec. 2383, 2400, 3191. After the stage of disagreement, rule XXII 
  clause 10 permits separate votes on rejecting nongermane portions of 
  Senate amendments. See Germaneness of Amendments.

                    Motions to Concur with an Amendment

      A House amendment proposed in a motion to concur in a Senate 
  amendment with an amendment is divisible if the proposed House 
  amendment is in divisible form. Manual Sec. 921. However, such a 
  motion may not be divided between concurring and amending. 8 Cannon 
  Sec. 3176.
      A proposed House amendment to a Senate amendment is not divisible 
  if the House amendment is in the form of a motion to strike and 
  insert, as such motions are specifically indivisible under House rule. 
  Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 48; Sec. 11, supra.

                       Motions to Recede and Concur

      A division may be demanded on a motion to recede from disagreement 
  and concur in a Senate amendment. 5 Hinds Sec. 6209; 8 Cannon 
  Sec. Sec. 3197-3199. The question having been divided and the House 
  having receded, a motion to amend takes precedence over the motion to 
  concur (5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 6209-6211; 8 Cannon Sec. 3198), even after 
  the previous question has been ordered on both motions (Manual 
  Sec. 525).

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                 C. Consideration of Divided Propositions


  Sec. 16 . In General

                Amendment and Debate; Putting the Question

      Where a division of the question has been demanded on separable 
  portions of a proposition subject to amendment, an amendment to any of 
  those portions may be offered until the Chair puts the question on the 
  first portion. 94-2, Sept. 9, 1976, p 29530. Even after a vote has 
  been taken on the first portion, the second is open to debate and 
  amendment unless the previous question is ordered. Manual Sec. 921.
      Where a division of the question is demanded on a separable 
  portion of an amendment, the Chair puts the question first on the 
  remaining portion of the amendment, and that portion on which a 
  division is demanded may remain open for further debate and amendment. 
  Manual Sec. 482. If a division of the question is demanded on more 
  than one portion of an amendment, the Chair may put the question first 
  on the unaffected portions of the amendment (if any), then (after 
  further debate) on the first part on which a division is requested, 
  and then (after further debate) on the subsequent divisible portions. 
  Manual Sec. 921. Where neither portion of a divided question remains 
  open to further debate or amendment, the question may be put first on 
  the portion identified by the demand for division and then on the 
  remainder. Manual Sec. 921.
      Where the question on adopting an amendment is divided by special 
  rule (rather than on demand from the floor), the Chair puts the 
  question on each divided portion of the amendment in the order in 
  which it appears. Manual Sec. 921.

                                  Voting

      A question having been divided for a vote, the vote may be taken 
  by one of the voting methods authorized by the House rules, such as a 
  voice vote, division vote, or record vote. See Voting. The motion to 
  reconsider applies separately to each portion of the divided question 
  and continues to be available even after disposition of a motion to 
  reconsider only one portion of the divided question. However, 
  frequently the motion to reconsider each portion is laid on the table 
  en bloc by unanimous consent. 5 Hinds Sec. 5609; 105-2, Dec. 19, 1998, 
  p ____.