[House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House]
[Chapter 55. Unfinished Business]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]


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                     CHAPTER 55 - UNFINISHED BUSINESS

                              HOUSE PRACTICE

  Sec. 1. In General
  Sec. 2. Business Unfinished at Adjournment
  Sec. 3. -- Where Previous Question Ordered
  Sec. 4. -- On Days Designated for Special Classes of Business
  Sec. 5. Voting as Unfinished Business
  Sec. 6. Business Postponed to a Day Certain
  Sec. 7. In Committee of the Whole
        Research References
          4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 3112-3114, 4735, 4736
          6 Cannon Sec. Sec. 740, 741
          Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 3
          Manual Sec. Sec. 869, 876-879


  Sec. 1 . In General

      Unfinished business is business that was carried over from a 
  previous day and is in order immediately after disposition of business 
  on the Speaker's table under rule XIV clauses 1 and 3, which set forth 
  the daily order of business in the House. Manual Sec. Sec. 869, 876. 
  The resumption of unfinished business under clause 3 may be preempted 
  by business of higher privilege, such as a motion to discharge on a 
  discharge day. Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 3. Unfinished business may not be 
  called up under rule XIV clause 1 if the order of business under that 
  rule has been supplanted, as it always is. See Order of Business; 
  Privileged Business.
      The Speaker has the discretionary authority under rule XX clause 8 
  to postpone certain questions and to ``cluster'' them for voting at a 
  designated time or place in the legislative schedule. The postponement 
  authorized by the rule must be to a time within two subsequent 
  legislative days, with the exception of questions relating to the 
  approval of the Journal, which may be postponed only to a time on the 
  same legislative day. Manual Sec. Sec. 877, 1030. Once announced, the 
  time for taking postponed votes may be redesignated within the 
  permissible period by the Chair. Manual Sec. 1030. When the House 
  adjourns on the second legislative day after postponement of a 
  question under rule XX clause 8, without resuming proceedings thereon, 
  the

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  question remains unfinished business on the next legislative day. 
  Manual Sec. Sec. 877, 1030; see Voting.
      Certain categories of business that are suspended until a 
  designated time are called up automatically. In addition to votes 
  under rule XX clause 8 discussed supra, consideration of a veto 
  message postponed to a day certain provides an example. Deschler Ch 21 
  Sec. 28.4. Generally, however, unfinished business coming over from a 
  previous day does not automatically come before the House for 
  consideration but must be called up by a Member in charge. Deschler Ch 
  21 Sec. 3.
      If the matter called up as unfinished business was under debate at 
  the time of the interruption, debate does not begin anew but 
  recommences from the point where it was interrupted. Manual Sec. 915.


  Sec. 2 . Business Unfinished at Adjournment

      Rule XIV clause 3 provides that, with certain exceptions, business 
  pending and unfinished at adjournment is to be resumed after business 
  on the Speaker's table is finished and at the same time each day 
  thereafter until disposed of. Manual Sec. 876; see also rule XX clause 
  8. For example, where the House adjourns during consideration of a 
  report from the Committee on Rules, further consideration of the 
  report becomes the unfinished business on the following day, and 
  debate resumes from the point where interrupted. Manual Sec. 877.
      Ordinarily, under rule XIV clause 3, any general legislative 
  business that is unfinished at adjournment goes over to the succeeding 
  day, whereas motions that relate merely to the sequence or order of 
  business do not. Manual Sec. Sec. 876, 877. Thus, a motion relating to 
  the order of business does not recur as unfinished business on a 
  succeeding day, even though a vote had been ordered on it. 4 Hinds 
  Sec. 3114. Likewise, the question of consideration, when not disposed 
  of at an adjournment, does not recur as unfinished business on a 
  succeeding day but may be raised anew on a subsequent day when the 
  matter is again before the House. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 4947, 4948; 8 
  Cannon Sec. 2438. Those special classes of business that are in order 
  only on days of the week designated by House rule are not covered by 
  rule XIV clause 3. See Sec. 4, infra.
      When the House adjourns on the second legislative day after 
  postponement of a question under rule XX clause 8 without resuming 
  proceedings thereon, the question remains unfinished business on the 
  next legislative day. When the House adjourns while a motion to 
  instruct conferees under rule XXII clause 7(c) is pending, the motion 
  to instruct becomes unfinished business on the next day and does not 
  need to be renoticed. Manual Sec. 877.

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  Sec. 3 . -- Where Previous Question Ordered

      If the House adjourns without voting on a proposition on which the 
  previous question has been ordered, the question comes up as 
  unfinished business on the next legislative day. Manual Sec. 878; 5 
  Hinds Sec. Sec. 5510-5517; 8 Cannon Sec. 2691. The previous question 
  having been ordered on a matter, its consideration on the succeeding 
  day becomes preferential and may supersede action on other business, 
  even though privileged. Thus, a resolution coming over from the 
  preceding day with the previous question ordered was held to take 
  precedence over a motion to dispose of a veto message from the 
  President. 8 Cannon Sec. 2693. Similarly, a bill coming over from the 
  preceding day with the previous question ordered was held to take 
  precedence over business made in order by a special order of business. 
  5 Hinds Sec. 5520.


  Sec. 4 . -- On Days Designated for Special Classes of Business

      Consistent with rule XIV clause 3, business unfinished at 
  adjournment and belonging to a class of business that is in order only 
  on certain days is not taken up again until the next day eligible for 
  the call of the appropriate calendar or for that class of business. 8 
  Cannon Sec. 2334; Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 3. This practice is followed 
  with respect to:

     Private bills considered on certain Tuesdays. See Private 
         Calendar.
     Matters considered at the Calendar Wednesday call of 
         committees. See Calendar Wednesday.
     District of Columbia bills on certain Mondays. See District of 
         Columbia Business.
     Bills brought up under the rule setting apart days for motions 
         to suspend the rules (but not those postponed under rule XX 
         clause 8). Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 3.30.
     Bills brought up under the rule setting apart days for motions 
         to discharge committees. See Discharging Measures From 
         Committees.


  Sec. 5 . Voting as Unfinished Business

      When a vote is postponed or when a quorum fails to vote on a 
  question and the House adjourns, the vote may recur as unfinished 
  business on the following day. Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 3. For votes 
  postponed by the Speaker under rule XX clause 8, see Sec. 1, supra. 
  Votes on unfinished business in the House are put de novo, if 
  previously postponed, and Members have the same rights as when the 
  question was first put, unless the yeas and nays or a recorded vote 
  was ordered before postponement. Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 3.18. Thus, when 
  a vote is postponed pursuant to rule XX clause 8, having been objected 
  to for lack of a quorum when initially before the House, the yeas

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  and nays or a recorded vote may be demanded when the vote recurs as 
  unfinished business. Manual Sec. 76; Deschler-Brown Ch 30 
  Sec. Sec. 56.5, 56.6; see Voting. For a discussion of postponed votes 
  in Committee of the Whole, see Sec. 7, infra.


  Sec. 6 . Business Postponed to a Day Certain

      Where a measure before the House is postponed to a day certain, 
  either by motion or by unanimous consent, the measure becomes the 
  unfinished business on the day to which postponed. Deschler Ch 21 
  Sec. 3. This practice is followed with respect to postponed conference 
  reports and to veto messages that are postponed to a day certain. 
  Deschler Ch 21 Sec. Sec. 8.17, 8.18; see also Postponement.


  Sec. 7 . In Committee of the Whole

                            Unfinished Business

      Business unfinished when the Committee of the Whole rises remains 
  unfinished, to be considered first in order when the House next goes 
  into Committee of the Whole to consider that business. 4 Hinds 
  Sec. 4735. The House or the Speaker, pursuant to declaration authority 
  under rule XVIII clause 2, and not the Committee of the Whole, 
  controls resumption of consideration. The Chairman of the Committee of 
  the Whole will not entertain unanimous-consent requests to fix the 
  time of resumption of consideration of a bill. Manual Sec. 993.
      When the House resolves into Committee of the Whole for the 
  consideration of a bill on which reading for amendment was begun on 
  the previous day, the Committee proceeds with the reading of the bill. 
  8 Cannon Sec. 2336.

                   Postponed Requests for Recorded Votes

      Under rule XVIII clause 6(g), the Chairman of the Committee of the 
  Whole may postpone and cluster requests for recorded votes on 
  amendments to a subsequent place and time during the amendment process 
  as determined by the Chair. When proceedings resume on a request for a 
  recorded vote on an amendment so postponed, the voice vote is 
  acknowledged and the request is announced as pending. An electronic 
  vote ordered on the postponed request may be reduced to five minutes, 
  provided the first vote in a series is 15 minutes. Manual Sec. 984; 
  see also Amendments.