[House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House]
[Chapter 39. Previous Question]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]


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                      CHAPTER 39 - PREVIOUS QUESTION

                              HOUSE PRACTICE

  Sec.  1. In General
  Sec.  2. Offering the Motion
  Sec.  3. -- When in Order; Quorum Requirements
  Sec.  4. -- Who May Offer
  Sec.  5. Precedence; Interruption of Other Matters
  Sec.  6. -- Precedence Over Other Motions
  Sec.  7. Scope of Motion; Application to Particular Propositions
  Sec.  8. Debate on Motion; Consideration and Disposition
  Sec.  9. Effect
  Sec. 10. -- On Debate Generally
  Sec. 11. -- On Divided Debate
  Sec. 12. -- On Amendments
  Sec. 13. Recommittal
  Sec. 14. Reconsideration
  Sec. 15. Rejection of Motion -- As Permitting Further Consideration
  Sec. 16. -- As Affecting Recognition
  Sec. 17. Effect of Adjournment When Previous Question Operating
        Research References
          5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5443-5520, 5569-5604
          8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 2661-2694
          Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 14-24
          Manual Sec. Sec. 461-463, 994-1002

  Sec. 1 . In General

                           Function and Purpose

      Rule XIX clause 1 provides for the motion for the previous 
  question. It is an essential motion in the House that is used during 
  the consideration of a matter to terminate debate, foreclose the 
  offering of amendments, and bring the House to an immediate vote on 
  the main question. Manual Sec. 994. It is the only motion used for 
  this purpose in the House. 5 Hinds Sec. 5456; 8 Cannon Sec. 2662.

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      The import of the previous question, in Jefferson's language, is 
  ``shall the main question be now put?'' Manual Sec. 452. If the House 
  disagrees to the motion, the main question is open to further 
  consideration and the right of recognition transfers to a Member who 
  opposed the motion. Sec. Sec. 15, 16, infra.
      The House practice in this regard is to be distinguished from that 
  of the Senate. The Senate does not admit the previous question. 8 
  Cannon Sec. 2663.

                           Historical Background

      In the early Congresses, the previous question was used in the 
  House for an entirely different purpose than it is today, having been 
  modeled on the English parliamentary practice. As early as 1604, the 
  previous question had been used in the Parliament to suppress a 
  question that the majority deemed undesirable for further discussion 
  or action. Manual Sec. Sec. 442, 463. The Continental Congress adopted 
  this device in 1778, but there was no intention of using it as a means 
  of closing debate in order to bring the pending question to a vote. 5 
  Hinds Sec. 5445.
      Early interpretations of the rule in the House were consistent 
  with its usage in the Continental Congress. However, in 1807, the 
  House overruled a holding by Speaker Varnum that the ordering of the 
  previous question precluded all debate on the main question. As a 
  result, debates became very lengthy. In 1811, the House reversed its 
  position by once again overruling Speaker Varnum to provide that there 
  could be no debate after the previous question was ordered, and this 
  decision was adhered to in subsequent rulings by the Speaker. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 5445.
      To moderate the harsh effects of the rule, seen by some as a way 
  of suppressing a minority, the number required to order the previous 
  question was changed from one-fifth to a majority, and a Member was 
  given the right to call for 40 minutes of debate on a proposition if 
  it had not been previously debated. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5445, 6821. In 
  1880, the rule was amended to permit the Speaker to entertain one 
  motion to recommit, notwithstanding the ordering of the previous 
  question. Sec. 13, infra.


  Sec. 2 . Offering the Motion

                                   Form

      The motion for the previous question may be offered by any Member 
  holding the floor. It must be made in writing if demanded, but is 
  usually made orally:

      Member: Mr. Speaker, I move the previous question on the 
    __________ [proposition].

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      Speaker: The question is on ordering the previous question.

      The motion should precisely specify the scope that is intended. 
  However, where, during the consideration of a bill, a Member states 
  merely ``I move the previous question,'' without specifying the 
  question to be voted on, the Speaker construes it as a motion for the 
  previous question on the bill to final passage and as applicable to 
  all intervening questions. 8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 2673, 2674. On the other 
  hand, during consideration of several motions (as in the consideration 
  of Senate amendments reported from conference in disagreement) a 
  simple motion for the previous question applies to the immediate 
  question only and does not include other pending questions. 8 Cannon 
  Sec. 2676. But see Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 14.2.
      The motion for the previous question may not include a provision 
  that it is to take effect at a time certain. Such a motion may not 
  include a provision, for example, ``that the previous question be 
  considered as ordered at 5 o'clock.'' 5 Hinds Sec. 5457.

                          Effect of Special Rule

      The ordering of the previous question on a bill may be required by 
  language in a special rule governing consideration of the bill. The 
  rule may provide, for example:

      The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill 
    and on any amendment thereto to final passage without intervening 
    motion except: (1) one hour of debate on the bill equally divided 
    and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the 
    Committee on House Administration; and (2) one motion to recommit 
    with or without instructions.

      When the House is operating under such a rule, the Chair states 
  that ``under the rule, the previous question is ordered,'' and a 
  motion for the previous question from the floor is unnecessary. 7 
  Cannon Sec. 776. Such a rule prohibits intervening motions, such as a 
  motion to adjourn. Manual Sec. 912.


  Sec. 3 . -- When in Order; Quorum Requirements

      The previous question is one of those motions that is in order 
  under rule XVI clause 4 ``when a question is under debate.'' As it is 
  considered a fundamental rule of parliamentary procedure, it also is 
  in order even before the rules of the House have been adopted. 
  Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 14.1.
      The motion for the previous question is in order in the House and 
  in the House as in the Committee of the Whole. Manual Sec. 995; 5 
  Hinds Sec. 5456; 6 Cannon Sec. 639; 8 Cannon Sec. 2662; Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. 14.10. The motion is not in order in the Committee of the Whole 
  but may be moved in

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  the House on an amendment reported from the Committee of the Whole. 4 
  Hinds Sec. 4716; Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 14.8, 14.9.
      The previous question is ordered by a majority of those voting, a 
  quorum being present. However, less than a quorum may order the 
  previous question on a motion incident to a call of the House. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 5458.


  Sec. 4 . -- Who May Offer

                        During Debate in the House

      The Member in charge of a pending measure has the prior right to 
  recognition and may move the previous question at any time during the 
  hour allotted to him and thereby cut off debate. 8 Cannon Sec. 3231. 
  The Member in charge may move the previous question when he regains 
  the floor after having yielded to another Member ``for debate only.'' 
  8 Cannon Sec. 2682. Other Members may not interpose the previous 
  question during such time as the Member in charge is holding the 
  floor, even though the Member in charge may not yet have begun his 
  remarks. Manual Sec. 997; 2 Hinds Sec. 1458. However, if the Member in 
  charge of the pending measure does not move the previous question and 
  loses the floor, any Member having the floor may so move. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 5475. This is so even though the effect of moving the previous 
  question may be to deprive the Member in charge of control of the 
  measure. Manual Sec. 997; 5 Hinds Sec. 5476; 8 Cannon Sec. 2685.
      Where time for debate in the House is equally divided and 
  controlled by the majority and the minority, or between those in favor 
  and those opposed, or where a block of time for debate has been 
  yielded by the manager to be yielded in turn by another Member, the 
  previous question may not be moved until the other side has used or 
  yielded back its time. The Chair may vacate the ordering of the 
  previous question where it was improperly moved while the other side 
  was still controlling time. Manual Sec. 997.

                          Proponent of Amendment

      A Member managing consideration of a measure may offer an 
  amendment to the pending measure and move the previous question on the 
  amendment and on the pending measure. Manual Sec. 996. Although the 
  previous question takes precedence over a motion to amend, the 
  proponent of an amendment, having been recognized for debate after 
  offering the amendment, may not be taken from the floor by another 
  Member who seeks to move the previous question. Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. 20.7; Sec. 6, infra. This rule is followed even though the 
  amendment offered is merely a pro forma amendment. 92-2, May 8, 1972, 
  pp 16154, 16157. However, a Member offering a preferential motion to 
  dispose of a Senate amendment may not move the

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  previous question on that motion as against the right of the Member in 
  charge to the floor. 2 Hinds Sec. 1459.

                            Effect of Yielding

      A Member in charge of a pending measure may yield time to others 
  for debate only and still retain the right to resume debate or move 
  the previous question. 8 Cannon Sec. 3383. However, where the Member 
  in charge yields to another Member to offer an amendment to his 
  proposition, he loses the floor and the Member offering the amendment 
  is recognized for one hour and may move the previous question on the 
  amendment and on the measure itself. Deschler-Brown Ch 29 Sec. 33.9. 
  In other words, the Member controlling the time may not yield to 
  another Member to offer an amendment without losing the right to move 
  the previous question. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 16.2. However, the Member 
  so yielding may move the previous question on the pending measure 
  following disposition of the amendment where the proponent of the 
  amendment has not done so and where no other Member seeks recognition. 
  Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 16.3-16.5.
      Under rule XVI clause 4, the motion for the previous question 
  takes precedence, and may be offered by any Member, over an amendment 
  offered by either the Member in charge of a pending measure or a 
  second Member who was yielded time by the Member in charge. Manual 
  Sec. 997; Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 14, 18.3.


  Sec. 5 . Precedence; Interruption of Other Matters

                                 Generally

      The motion for the previous question has the precedence given it 
  by rule XVI clause 4. The Chair, having recognized a Member in charge 
  of a bill for the motion for the previous question, may not recognize 
  another Member to rise to a question of personal privilege. Deschler 
  Ch 23 Sec. 17.2. However, a message from the Senate, the 
  administration of the oath, or the presentation of a conference report 
  is in order, notwithstanding that the previous question has been moved 
  or ordered on a pending proposition. 5 Hinds Sec. 6449; Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. Sec. 19.3, 19.4.
      A measure on which the previous question has been ordered takes 
  precedence over a special order from the Committee on Rules, even if 
  the special order provides for the immediate consideration of certain 
  business. 5 Hinds Sec. 5520.

                          Suspension of the Rules

      The motion to suspend the rules may be entertained after the 
  previous question has been moved and is admitted at the Speaker's 
  discretion, not

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  withstanding the ordering of the previous question on a pending 
  measure. Manual Sec. 887; 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 6827, 6831-6833; 8 Cannon 
  Sec. 3418.


  Sec. 6 . -- Precedence Over Other Motions

                                 Generally

      Under rule XVI clause 4, the motion for the previous question is 
  listed third in the order of precedence after the motions to adjourn 
  and to lay on the table. As such, the previous question has precedence 
  over the motions to postpone, to refer, or to amend. Manual Sec. 911; 
  5 Hinds Sec. 5301; Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 20.7. A Member making the 
  motion also has priority over another Member seeking recognition for 
  debate. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 19.1.
      The Member in charge of a proposition and having the floor may 
  demand the previous question, notwithstanding that another Member 
  proposes a motion of higher privilege. However, the motion of higher 
  privilege must be put before the question is put on the previous 
  question. Manual Sec. 997; 5 Hinds Sec. 5480; 8 Cannon Sec. 2684; 
  Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 16.6. A Member having the floor may not exclude a 
  privileged motion simply by offering a motion of lower privilege and 
  demanding the previous question thereon. 8 Cannon Sec. 2609.

                                Adjournment

      Under rule XVI clause 4, the motion to adjourn takes precedence 
  over the motion for the previous question. Manual Sec. 911. However, a 
  motion to adjourn is not in order after the previous question has been 
  ordered on a bill to final passage under a special rule prohibiting 
  any intervening motions. Manual Sec. 1002; 4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 3211-
  3213.

                             Lay on the Table

      Under rule XVI clause 4, the motion to lay the pending proposition 
  on the table takes precedence over the motion for the previous 
  question. Manual Sec. 911; 8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 2658, 2660. However, the 
  motion to table may not be applied to the motion for the previous 
  question itself. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5410, 5411. The motion to table is 
  not in order after the previous question is ordered, or even after the 
  yeas and nays are ordered on the demand for the previous question. 5 
  Hinds Sec. Sec. 5408, 5409, 5415-5422. A motion to table a motion to 
  recommit is not in order after the previous question has been ordered 
  on a bill to final passage under a special rule prohibiting any 
  intervening motions. Manual Sec. 1002a.
      Although the motion for the previous question yields to the motion 
  to table, if the motion to table is rejected, the question recurs on 
  the motion

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  for the previous question that was pending when the motion to table 
  was offered. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 20.1.

                          Referral or Recommittal

      The previous question may be moved on a proposition while a motion 
  to refer it is pending. 8 Cannon Sec. 2678. However, the rule 
  authorizing the motion to recommit (or commit) specifically permits 
  the use of that motion after the previous question has been moved or 
  ordered. Manual Sec. 1001; see also Sec. 13, infra.

                             Motions to Amend

      The motion for the previous question takes precedence over the 
  motion to amend. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 20.2. Thus, the motion for the 
  previous question takes precedence over an amendment to, for example, 
  a motion to recommit or a motion to instruct conferees. Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. Sec. 20.4, 20.5. If the motion for the previous question is voted 
  down, the pending measure is subject to amendment. However, if the 
  amendment is ruled out on a point of order, the previous question may 
  again be moved and takes precedence over the offering of another 
  amendment. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 20.3.
      A Member, having obtained the floor to offer a preferential motion 
  to dispose of a Senate amendment in disagreement with the Senate, may 
  not move the previous question on that preferential motion to the end 
  that the Member in charge of the pending proposition is denied 
  recognition for debate. Manual Sec. 997; 2 Hinds Sec. 1459.


  Sec. 7 . Scope of Motion; Application to Particular Propositions

                                 Generally

      Under rule XIX clause 1, ``the previous question may be moved and 
  ordered on a single question, on a series of questions allowable under 
  the rules, or on an amendment or amendments, or may embrace all 
  authorized motions or amendments and include the bill or resolution to 
  its passage, adoption, or rejection.'' Manual Sec. 994. The motion 
  should precisely specify the scope that is intended. However, where, 
  during the consideration of a bill, a Member states merely ``I move 
  the previous question,'' without specifying the question to be voted 
  on, the Speaker construes it as a motion for the previous question on 
  the bill to final passage and as applicable to all intervening 
  questions. 8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 2673, 2674. On the other hand, during 
  consideration of several motions (as in the consideration of Senate 
  amendments reported from conference in disagreement), a simple motion 
  for the previous question applies to the immediate question only and 
  does not

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  include other pending questions. 8 Cannon Sec. 2676; but see Deschler 
  Ch 23 Sec. 14.2.
      The motion for the previous question is generally applicable to 
  any pending measure or motion that is subject to debate or amendment 
  (Manual Sec. 996) and has been held specifically applicable to:

    A proposition and a pending motion to refer the proposition to 
         a committee. 5 Hinds Sec. 5466; 8 Cannon Sec. 2678.
    A pending resolution and an amendment thereto. Manual Sec. 996.
    A question of approval of the Journal. Deschler Ch 23 
         Sec. 14.6.
    A private bill under consideration during the call of the 
         Private Calendar. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 14.5.
    A question of agreeing to a report of the Committee of the 
         Whole that the enacting clause be stricken. 5 Hinds Sec. 5342.
    A resolution to elect Members to committees. 8 Cannon 
         Sec. 2174.
    Certain amendments to a bill (leaving the remaining amendments 
         open to debate and further amendment). 8 Cannon Sec. 2679.
    All amendments to a bill other than a particular amendment. 
         Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 15.17.
    A substitute amendment. 5 Hinds Sec. 5472.
    A question of privilege, including one involving censure of a 
         Member or impeachment. 2 Hinds Sec. 1256; 5 Hinds Sec. 5460; 8 
         Cannon Sec. 2672.
    A motion to limit debate pending a motion to go into the 
         Committee of the Whole. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5203, 5473.
    A motion to postpone a matter to a day certain. Deschler Ch 23 
         Sec. 18.2.

      The previous question is not applicable to:

    A proposition that is not subject to debate or amendment or 
         that is being considered under a procedure that precludes 
         debate or intervening motions. 4 Hinds Sec. 3077; Deschler Ch 
         23 Sec. 14.12.
    A proposition against which a point of order is pending. 8 
         Cannon Sec. Sec. 2681, 3433.
    A portion of a bill, including a single section. Manual 
         Sec. 996; 4 Hinds Sec. 4930.
    More than one bill at a time (except by unanimous consent). 5 
         Hinds Sec. Sec. 5461-5464.
    A measure being considered under a motion to suspend the rules. 
         Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 14.11.

                           Titles and Preambles

      The rules of the House permit an amendment to the title of a bill 
  after its passage. Manual Sec. 922. However, it has been held that 
  when the previous question is ordered on a bill to final passage, the 
  order applies also to the title of the bill, thereby preventing its 
  amendment. 5 Hinds Sec. 5471.

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      The ordering of the previous question on a pending resolution does 
  not cover the preamble thereto unless the proponent of the motion so 
  specifies. A motion to order the previous question on the preamble is 
  in order following the vote on the resolution. 5 Hinds Sec. 5469 (note 
  2); Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 14.7, 18.4. However, the motion for the 
  previous question may be applied at once to both a resolution and its 
  preamble. Manual Sec. 1002c.

                   Senate Amendments; Conference Reports

      The previous question may be applied to a motion to dispose of a 
  Senate amendment in disagreement, such as a motion to recede. Deschler 
  Ch 23 Sec. 15.6. However, a simple motion for the previous question 
  applies to the immediate pending proposition only and not to other 
  pending questions. 8 Cannon Sec. 2676; but see Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. 14.2. Similarly, a motion for the previous question may not be 
  applied to a question on agreeing to both a conference report and to a 
  motion to ask for a further conference on amendments not included in 
  the report. 5 Hinds Sec. 5465. Likewise, when the previous question is 
  ordered on a motion to send a matter to conference, it applies to that 
  motion alone and does not extend to a subsequent motion to instruct 
  conferees. 8 Cannon Sec. 2675.

                           Incidental Questions

      The previous question covers the main proposition but does not 
  apply to questions that arise after the previous question has been 
  applied and that are merely incidental thereto. 8 Cannon Sec. 2687. 
  Thus, in one instance, it was held that the previous question applied 
  to certain resolutions but not to the question of whether certain 
  Members should be excused from voting thereon. 5 Hinds Sec. 5467.


  Sec. 8 . Debate on Motion; Consideration and Disposition

                                 Generally

      The motion for the previous question is not debatable. Manual 
  Sec. 911; 5 Hinds Sec. 5301; Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 21.1. The motion 
  cannot be amended. Manual Sec. 452; 5 Hinds Sec. 5754. It is not 
  subject to a motion to table, and it cannot be postponed. Manual 
  Sec. Sec. 451, 998; 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5322, 5410, 5411. Jefferson 
  wrote, ``to change it to tomorrow, or any other moment is without 
  example and without utility.'' Manual Sec. 452. Indeed, he felt that 
  it would be ``absurd'' to postpone the previous question, it being his 
  view that the same result could be had simply by voting against the 
  previous question. Manual Sec. 451.

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                                  Voting

      The motion for the previous question is determined by a simple 
  majority vote, and may be ordered by less than a quorum on a motion 
  incident to a call of the House. 5 Hinds Sec. 5458. A motion for the 
  previous question on an amendment to a measure and on the measure is 
  not divisible so as to obtain separate votes on ordering the previous 
  question on the two propositions. Manual Sec. 996; Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. 14.3. When the previous question is ordered on an amendment as 
  well as the main proposition to which it is offered, the vote is taken 
  first on the amendment and then immediately on the proposition. 
  Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 15.12. An order for the previous question does not 
  preclude a demand for a division of the question and for a separate 
  vote on distinct substantive propositions, such as a series of 
  resolutions. 5 Hinds Sec. 6149; 8 Cannon Sec. 3173.

                       Withdrawal of Motion; Renewal

      A Member may withdraw his motion for the previous question if the 
  House has not acted thereon, and any Member entitled to the floor 
  thereafter may renew that motion. 8 Cannon Sec. 2683. If the House 
  acts on the motion and rejects it, the motion nevertheless may be 
  renewed after debate or other intervening business. Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. Sec. 14.4, 22.17.

              Vacating the Ordering of the Previous Question

      The action of the House in ordering the previous question is 
  subject to the motion to reconsider. Manual Sec. 1006; 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 5655. The ordering of the previous question also may be vacated 
  by unanimous consent. 95-1, Oct. 6, 1977, p 32600. Thus, in one 
  instance, unanimous consent was granted to permit the consideration of 
  an amendment to a measure, even though the previous question was 
  operating on the measure. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 14.13. The Chair has 
  also vacated the ordering of the previous question when it was 
  improperly moved while the other side was still controlling time. 
  Manual Sec. 997.


  Sec. 9 . Effect

              Generally; As Precluding Further Consideration

      Except as discussed in sections 13 and 14, infra, the adoption of 
  the motion for the previous question stops all debate, precludes the 
  offering of amendments, and brings the House to an immediate vote on 
  the pending matter. 5 Hinds Sec. 5321; Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 15, 
  15.17. It cannot be modified, corrected, or changed, except by 
  unanimous consent. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5482, 5485. A point of order 
  against the pending matter on which the previous question

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  has been ordered may be overruled as untimely. Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. 15.21. A motion ordinarily cannot be withdrawn once the previous 
  question has been ordered on it. Manual Sec. 905; 5 Hinds 
  Sec. Sec. 5355, 5489.

                        As Precluding Other Motions

      With the exception of the motions to reconsider or to recommit 
  (Sec. Sec. 13, 14, infra), the ordering of the previous question 
  precludes the application of various motions to dispose of the pending 
  matter, including the motion to table (5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5412-5422; 8 
  Cannon Sec. 2655), the motion to postpone (5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5319-
  5321; 8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 2609, 2616, 2617), and a motion in the House 
  to strike the enacting clause (Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 15.13).


  Sec. 10 . -- On Debate Generally

                             Effect of Demand

      After the previous question has been moved on a proposition, no 
  further debate on it is in order unless the previous question is 
  rejected. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 15.1. All incidental questions, 
  including ordinary questions of order, are likewise decided without 
  debate. Manual Sec. 1000; 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5448, 5449. However, under 
  the present practice, the Chair may recognize and respond to a 
  parliamentary inquiry although the previous question may have been 
  demanded. Manual Sec. 1000. The demand precludes further debate on the 
  question of overriding a Presidential veto. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 15.2.

                            Effect of Adoption

      The ordering of the previous question on a proposition under 
  debate has the effect of terminating that debate. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. Sec. 5443, 5444; 8 Cannon Sec. 2662. The reading of a report or 
  other paper, being in the nature of debate, is not in order 
  thereafter. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5294, 5296. The proponent's right to 
  close debate is likewise precluded. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 4997-5000. 
  Propositions on which pending debate has been terminated by the motion 
  include: an amendment offered to a resolution reported by the 
  Committee on Rules (Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 15.10), an amendment in the 
  nature of a substitute (Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 15.11), and a motion to 
  dispose of an amendment in disagreement between the Houses (Deschler 
  Ch 23 Sec. 15.8). However, a question involving the privileges of the 
  House, subject to proper notice under rule IX, may intervene and be 
  debated, notwithstanding the ordering of the previous question on a 
  pending proposition, unless the previous question has been ordered to 
  final passage under a special rule prohibiting any intervening 
  motions. 3 Hinds Sec. 2532.

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           Effect of Special Rule Ordering the Previous Question

      A special rule governing consideration of a matter may order the 
  previous question to adoption or passage without intervening motion 
  (often excepting one motion to recommit). Such a resolution 
  nevertheless would permit debate for 10 minutes on the motion to 
  recommit a bill or joint resolution with instructions (Manual 
  Sec. 1001; Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 15.15) but would preclude a motion to 
  postpone or a motion to adjourn during pendency of the matter (Manual 
  Sec. 1002; 4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 3211-3213). Alternatively, a special rule 
  that orders the previous question after debate may permit an 
  intervening motion during debate, such as the motion to postpone. 96-
  2, Mar. 12, 1980, p 5388.


  Sec. 11 . -- On Divided Debate

                                 Generally

      When debate is divided by rule, or by the manager yielding time, 
  the previous question may not be moved until the other side has used 
  or yielded back its time. Manual Sec. 997.

                            Forty-minute Debate

      An exception to the rule that the previous question cuts off 
  debate is found in rule XIX clause 1. It allows 40 minutes of debate 
  where the previous question is ordered on a debatable proposition that 
  in fact has not been debated. Manual Sec. 999. This rule was adopted 
  in 1880 to prevent passing measures without a word of debate, a 
  frequent practice before that time. 5 Hinds Sec. 6821. The right to 40 
  minutes of debate accrues only if the previous question is ordered, 
  not merely moved. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 21.4. However, the 40 minutes of 
  debate must be demanded before the House begins to vote on the main 
  question. 5 Hinds Sec. 5496.
      Debate under the 40-minute rule is divided between the proponent 
  of the pending proposition and an opponent. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 21.2.
      If there has been any debate at all on the merits of the pending 
  proposition before the ordering of the previous question, the 40 
  minutes of debate permitted by the rule cannot be claimed. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. Sec. 5499-5502. That time may not be demanded on a proposition 
  that has been debated in the Committee of the Whole. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 5505. The 40-minute rule does not apply to propositions that are 
  themselves not debatable, such as a motion to close debate. 8 Cannon 
  Sec. Sec. 2555, 2690; Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 21.7.
      The word ``question'' in the 40-minute rule refers to the main 
  question and does not refer to incidental motions, such as a motion to 
  recommit a bill. 5 Hinds Sec. 5497. ``Debate'' means debate on the 
  main question and not

[[Page 693]]

  on something incidentally connected therewith, such as a concurrent 
  resolution correcting an error in the section numbers of the bill. 5 
  Hinds Sec. 5508.
      The 40 minutes of debate may be claimed where the previous 
  question has been ordered on an amendment that has not been debated 
  either in the House or in the Committee of the Whole. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 5503. However, the 40 minutes of debate may not be claimed with 
  respect to an undebated amendment if the previous question was ordered 
  both on the undebated amendment and the main proposition and the main 
  proposition was debated. 5 Hinds Sec. 5504.
      The 40-minute rule does not apply at the inception of a Congress 
  before the adoption of rules. 5 Hinds Sec. 5509; Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. 21.6.


  Sec. 12 . -- On Amendments

      The previous question is an essential tool of the proponent of a 
  proposition. After the previous question has been moved on a 
  proposition, it is not subject to further amendment unless the motion 
  is rejected by the House. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 15.5. If the previous 
  question is ordered, no further amendments to the proposition are in 
  order except for an amendment proposed in a motion to recommit with 
  instructions. 8 Cannon Sec. 3231; Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 15.7; Sec. 13, 
  infra. Ordering the previous question precludes amendment to a special 
  order reported by the Committee on Rules or to a motion to recommit 
  with instructions. 8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 2698, 2712, 3241; Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. 15.14.
      Ordering the previous question on a proposition precludes 
  amendments even if the question is not subject to debate. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. Sec. 5473, 5490. For example, the previous question may be 
  applied in the House to the nondebatable motion to recommit in order 
  to prevent amendment. Manual Sec. 996.
      Although unanimous consent may be granted for the consideration of 
  an amendment even though the previous question has been ordered, the 
  Speaker may decline to entertain unanimous-consent requests for that 
  purpose. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 14.13, 15.18.
      The motion for the previous question is not used in the Committee 
  of the Whole. However, it is applicable to the work product that the 
  Committee reports to the House. Where the previous question is ordered 
  on some amendments reported from the Committee of the Whole, they must 
  be disposed of before further consideration of the remaining 
  amendments. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 15.19.

[[Page 694]]

      Amendments also are precluded where the House is operating 
  pursuant to a special order providing that the previous question is 
  ``considered as ordered.'' Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 15.15, 15.16.


  Sec. 13 . Recommittal

                                 Generally

      Rule XIX clause 2 permits a motion to recommit (or commit) the 
  pending measure to a committee either pending the motion for or after 
  the ordering of the previous question. Manual Sec. 1001. This 
  provision was adopted in 1880 to afford ``the amplest opportunity to 
  test the sense of the House as to whether or not the bill is in the 
  exact form it desires.'' 5 Hinds Sec. 5443; see Refer and Recommit.

                           Amendment and Debate

      Contrary to the early practice, the opponents of the bill are 
  given priority in recognition to move to recommit it to a committee. 
  Manual Sec. Sec. 1001, 1002; 2 Hinds Sec. 1456. The motion to recommit 
  under this rule may be amended, as by adding instructions, unless such 
  amendment is precluded by moving the previous question on the motion. 
  5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5582-5584; 8 Cannon Sec. 2695.
      A motion to recommit with instructions commonly provides that the 
  committee report ``forthwith.'' If the motion is adopted, the 
  committee chairman immediately reports to the House in conformity with 
  the instructions; and the bill, as modified, is automatically before 
  the House again. The House then votes separately on the amendments, 
  which are not subject to further amendment if the previous question 
  has been ordered on the bill to passage. The previous question, when 
  ordered on the bill, continues in force until disposition of the bill 
  and is not vitiated by its recommitment. Thus, where the previous 
  question is moved on a resolution and an amendment thereto, and the 
  House orders it recommitted with instructions to report with an 
  amendment forthwith, the previous question remains operative to bar a 
  subsequent amendment. 8 Cannon Sec. 2677.


  Sec. 14 . Reconsideration

      The vote on ordering the previous question on a measure is subject 
  to the motion to reconsider. 5 Hinds Sec. 5655. However, a motion to 
  reconsider that vote may not be entertained if the House has partially 
  executed that order, as by voting on an amendment. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. Sec. 5653, 5654. The vote ordering the previous question on a 
  special order reported from the Committee

[[Page 695]]

  on Rules may be reconsidered and such reconsideration is not dilatory 
  under rule XIII clause 6(b). Manual Sec. Sec. 858, 1006; see also 
  Reconsideration.
      A motion to reconsider a vote on a proposition may be made after 
  the previous question has been demanded on the proposition or even 
  after it has been ordered and while it is operating. Manual Sec. 1005; 
  5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5656-5662. Under the modern practice, where the 
  House votes to reconsider a proposition on which the previous question 
  was operating when first voted on, no debate is in order except by 
  unanimous consent. Deschler-Brown Ch 29 Sec. 6.51.


  Sec. 15 . Rejection of Motion--As Permitting Further Consideration

                                 Generally

      The defeat of the motion for the previous question on a pending 
  proposition ordinarily opens up that proposition to further 
  consideration, amendment, and debate. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 22.1-
  22.5. However, the rejection of the motion for the previous question 
  on a measure that is not subject to amendment, such as a conference 
  report, does not open the measure to amendment but only extends the 
  time for debate thereon. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 22.15. Similarly, if a 
  pending proposition is not debatable, but is vulnerable to an 
  amendment, the defeat of the previous question does not provide time 
  for debate but only the opportunity for amendment. Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. 22.8.

                                  Motions

      The rejection of the previous question can open a motion to 
  further amendment. Examples include motions to instruct conferees, to 
  recede and concur in a Senate amendment, to recommit a bill with 
  instructions, and to recommit a conference report. Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. Sec. 22.12, 22.13, 22.16.


  Sec. 16 . -- As Affecting Recognition

      If the previous question is voted down on a proposition, 
  recognition passes to an opponent of the motion for the previous 
  question. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 23.1, 23.5. Thus, the previous 
  question on a resolution being voted down, the Speaker may recognize a 
  Member who led that effort, who may offer an amendment and be 
  recognized for one hour. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 23.2, 23.5. However, 
  recognition of such Member could be preempted by another Member with a 
  preferential motion, such as the motion to lay on the table. Manual 
  Sec. 954. The recognition of the Member is not precluded by the fact 
  that he has been previously recognized to offer an amendment. Deschler 
  Ch 23 Sec. 23.4.

[[Page 696]]

      The practice of bestowing recognition on a Member leading the 
  opposition upon rejection of the previous question is applied to a 
  resolution from the Committee on Rules and to a motion to instruct 
  conferees. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 23.6, 23.7.
      In recognizing one of the leaders of the opposition when the 
  previous question is rejected, the Chair gives preference to a Member 
  of the minority if he actively opposed ordering the previous question. 
  Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 23.1. However, where no minority member so 
  qualified seeks recognition, a majority member who opposed the 
  previous question on the pending proposition may be recognized. 
  Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 23.8.


  Sec. 17 . Effect of Adjournment When Previous Question Operating

      If the House adjourns without voting on a proposition on which the 
  previous question has been ordered, the question comes up on the next 
  legislative day. 8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 2693, 2694; Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. Sec. 15.22, 24.2. The proposition is taken up as unfinished 
  business immediately after disposal of business on the Speaker's 
  table. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5510-5517; 8 Cannon Sec. 2674; Deschler Ch 23 
  Sec. 24.2. Multiple bills coming over from a previous day with the 
  previous question ordered thereon have precedence in the order in 
  which the several motions for the previous question were made. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 5518. A proposition coming over from the preceding day with the 
  previous question ordered thereon has been held to take precedence 
  over a motion for the disposition of a veto message from the President 
  and to take precedence over a motion to go into the Committee of the 
  Whole for the consideration of a bill privileged by special order. 8 
  Cannon Sec. Sec. 2674, 2693; generally, see Unfinished Business.