[House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House]
[Chapter 41. Question of Consideration]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]


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                CHAPTER 41 - QUESTION OF CONSIDERATION

                              HOUSE PRACTICE

  Sec. 1. In General
  Sec. 2. Propositions Subject to the Question
  Sec. 3. Propositions Not Subject to the Question
  Sec. 4. Application to Points of Order Against Unfunded Mandates
        Research References
          5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 4936-4977
          8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 2436-2447
          Deschler-Brown Ch 29
          Manual Sec. Sec. 906-910


  Sec. 1 . In General

                       Generally; Purpose and Effect

      Rule XVI clause 3 provides that when any motion or proposition is 
  entertained, a Member may demand the question ``[w]ill the House now 
  consider it?'' Manual Sec. 906. This rule, which was adopted in its 
  present form in 1880, permits the House by simple majority vote to 
  refuse to consider business it may not want to consider on that day. 5 
  Hinds Sec. 4936; 8 Cannon Sec. 2447. The rule provides that the 
  question is not to be put unless demanded. Manual Sec. 906.
      Any Member, Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner may demand the 
  question of consideration, even against matters of the highest 
  privilege and even though the Member in charge claims the floor for 
  debate or to move the previous question. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 4936, 4941, 
  4944, 4945, 5478; 6 Cannon Sec. 404. The question of consideration is 
  not debatable because such debate would defeat the purpose of the 
  rule. 8 Cannon Sec. 2447. If the House votes against consideration, it 
  has the effect of preventing all debate on the pending measure at that 
  time. The form for raising the question of consideration is as 
  follows:

      Member: Mr. Speaker, I raise the question of consideration.
      Speaker: The gentleman raises the question of consideration. The 
    question is: Will the House now consider it [the motion or 
    proposition]?

      Where a report from the Committee on Rules is called up on the 
  same legislative day on which reported, the Chair puts the question 
  without de

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  mand pursuant to rule XIII clause 6(a)(1). Manual Sec. 857; see 
  Special Orders of Business.

                               When in Order

      The question of consideration is not in order after debate has 
  begun and does not lie until the initial reading has been concluded. 5 
  Hinds Sec. Sec. 4937-4939; 6 Cannon Sec. 541; 8 Cannon Sec. 2436. It 
  may not be raised after the previous question has been ordered. 5 
  Hinds Sec. Sec. 4965, 4966.

                          Voting on the Question

      A negative vote on the question of consideration does not amount 
  to a rejection of the proposition and does not prevent the measure 
  from being brought before the House again. 5 Hinds Sec. 4940. By the 
  same token, an affirmative vote does not prevent the question of 
  consideration from being raised on a subsequent day when the bill is 
  again called up as unfinished business. 8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 2438, 2447. 
  If the question of consideration is raised but not voted on at 
  adjournment it does not recur as unfinished business on the succeeding 
  day. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 4947, 4948.
      It is in order to reconsider an affirmative vote on the question 
  of consideration. Deschler-Brown Ch 29 Sec. 5. However, it is not in 
  order to reconsider a negative vote on the question of consideration. 
  5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5626, 5627.

                       As Related to Points of Order

      A point of order against the eligibility for consideration of a 
  bill, which if sustained might prevent consideration, should be made 
  and decided before the question of consideration is put. Manual 
  Sec. 909. However, if the point of order relates merely to the manner 
  of considering the bill, the point of order should be passed on after 
  the House has decided the question of consideration. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 4950. Points of order against a conference report are raised 
  after the question of consideration has been decided in the 
  affirmative. Manual Sec. 909.
      A point of order against consideration of a bill for failure of a 
  proper quorum in committee to report was permitted despite unanimous 
  consent of the House to immediately consider the bill because the 
  unanimous-consent request was not accompanied by a waiver of points of 
  order. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 17.13.

                 Other Methods of Preventing Consideration

      Immediate consideration of a measure can be avoided by use of the 
  motions to postpone or to refer. Manual Sec. Sec. 915, 916. Successful 
  application of

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  the motion to lay the proposition on the table constitutes a final 
  adverse disposition of the matter before the House. See Lay on the 
  Table.


  Sec. 2 . Propositions Subject to the Question

      The question of consideration has been applied to bills, 
  resolutions, motions, and reports. It may be demanded against matters 
  of highest privilege. Manual Sec. 908; 5 Hinds Sec. 4941. The question 
  may be demanded:

     Against a committee report relating to the seating of a 
         Member. 5 Hinds Sec. 4941.
     Against a resolution raising a question of the privileges of 
         the House. 6 Cannon Sec. 560.
     Against a bill that has been made in order on a particular day 
         by a special order. 4 Hinds Sec. 3175; 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 4953-
         4957.
     Against a bill on the Union Calendar on Calendar Wednesday 
         before resolving into the Committee of the Whole. 8 Cannon 
         Sec. 2445.
     Against the motion to reconsider. 8 Cannon Sec. 2437.
     Against a conference report. 8 Cannon Sec. 2439; Deschler-
         Brown Ch 29 Sec. 5.12.
     Against a resolution to elect a Member to a standing 
         committee. 104-1, July 10, 1995, p 18253.


  Sec. 3 . Propositions Not Subject to the Question

      The question of consideration lies only against an individual 
  proposition and may not be raised against a class of business, such as 
  District of Columbia business generally. 4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 3308, 3309; 
  5 Hinds Sec. 4598.
      Some legislative propositions are considered under special rules 
  that provide for the ``immediate consideration'' of the proposition. 
  Under that procedure the House decides the question of consideration 
  by voting on the special rule itself, and the question of 
  consideration cannot be raised against the ultimate proposition. 5 
  Hinds Sec. Sec. 4960-4963; 8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 2440, 2441. The question 
  of consideration is likewise inapplicable to a motion to resolve into 
  the Committee of the Whole because the House expresses its will 
  concerning consideration by voting on the motion. Manual Sec. 908; 
  Deschler-Brown Ch 29 Sec. 5.6. Under modern practice, special rules 
  authorize the Speaker to declare the House resolved into Committee of 
  the Whole without motion, thereby precluding the question of 
  consideration or any vote of the House. Rule XVIII clause 2(b); Manual 
  Sec. 972.

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      Other propositions held not subject to the question of 
  consideration include:

     A bill returned with the President's veto. 5 Hinds 
         Sec. Sec. 4969, 4970.
     A motion relating to the order of business. 5 Hinds 
         Sec. Sec. 4971-4976; 8 Cannon Sec. 2442.
     A motion to discharge committees. 5 Hinds Sec. 4977.
     Propositions before the House merely for reference. 5 Hinds 
         Sec. 4964.
     A motion under rule XIV clause 2(d) to take from the Speaker's 
         table a Senate bill substantially the same as a House bill 
         already favorably reported and on the House Calendar. 8 Cannon 
         Sec. 2443.
     Reports from the Committee on Rules relating to the rules or 
         order of business. Rule XIII clause 6; Manual Sec. 858; 5 Hinds 
         Sec. Sec. 4961-4963.


  Sec. 4 . Application to Points of Order Against Unfunded Mandates

      Sections 423-426 of the Congressional Budget Act establish 
  committee report requirements and points of order against 
  consideration. Manual Sec. 1127; see also Unfunded Mandates.
      Section 425(a)(2) establishes a point of order against 
  consideration of any bill, joint resolution, amendment, motion, or 
  conference report that would increase the direct costs of Federal 
  intergovernmental mandates by an amount that exceeds the $50 million 
  threshold in section 424(a)(1) unless it also provides spending 
  authority or authorizes sufficient appropriations to cover the costs. 
  Section 426(a) of the Act establishes a point of order against 
  consideration of any rule or order that waives the application of 
  section 425. Points of order under sections 425 and 426(a) of the 
  Budget Act are disposed of not by a ruling of the Chair but by the 
  Chair stating the question of consideration. Section 426(b)(2) 
  establishes as a threshold premise for cognizability of a point of 
  order under section 425 or 426(a) the specification of precise 
  legislative language that is alleged to constitute a Federal mandate.

                                   Form

      The Speaker: The gentleman from  __________ makes a point of order 
    that the resolution (H. Res.  ____) violates section 426(a) of the 
    Congressional Budget Act of 1974 by waiving all points of order 
    (therefore necessarily including the application of section 425 of 
    that Act) during the consideration of H.R. ____. In accordance with 
    section 426(b)(2) of the Act, the gentleman has met his threshold 
    burden to identify the language of the resolution that has that 
    effect. Under section 426(b)(4) of the Act, the gentleman from  
    __________ and a Member opposed will each control 10 minutes of 
    debate. Pursuant to section 426(b)(3) of the Act, after debate the 
    Chair will put the question of consideration, to wit: ``Will the 
    House now consider the resolution?''