[House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House]
[Chapter 59. Withdrawal]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]


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                          CHAPTER 59 - WITHDRAWAL

                              HOUSE PRACTICE

  Sec. 1. In General
  Sec. 2. Decisions That Prevent Withdrawal
  Sec. 3. Right to Modify Derived from Right to Withdraw
  Sec. 4. Points of Order
  Sec. 5. Requests for Record Votes
        Research References
          5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5347-5358
          Deschler Ch 23 Sec. Sec. 2, 36, 43; Deschler Ch 27 Sec. 20
          Manual Sec. Sec. 902, 904, 905, 922, 925, 978


  Sec. 1 . In General

                          Withdrawal of a Motion

      Rule XVI clause 2 states that a motion, once entertained, may be 
  withdrawn at any time before a decision is made thereon or an 
  amendment thereto. Manual Sec. 904. A motion may be withdrawn although 
  an amendment has been offered to it and is pending. 5 Hinds Sec. 5347; 
  6 Cannon Sec. 373; 8 Cannon Sec. 2639.
      Examples of motions that may be withdrawn under the rule include:

     A motion to suspend the rules. Manual Sec. 905.
     A motion that the House resolve into the Committee of the 
         Whole for the consideration of a bill. Manual Sec. 905.
     A motion to instruct conferees. Manual Sec. 905.
     A motion to dispose of an amendment reported from conference 
         in disagreement. See, E.g., Deschler-Brown Ch 32 Sec. 10.30.

      A motion that the House resolve into the Committee of the Whole 
  for the consideration of a bill may be withdrawn pending a point of 
  order against consideration of the bill. If the motion is withdrawn, 
  the Chair is not obligated to rule on the point of order. Manual 
  Sec. 905; 8 Cannon Sec. 3405.
      The proponent of a motion to dispose of an amendment reported in 
  disagreement, having withdrawn the motion, may change the amendment 
  included in the motion and offer it again in its modified form. 
  Deschler-Brown Ch 32 Sec. 8.3.
      A motion may be withdrawn in the Committee of the Whole only by 
  unanimous consent. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 2.10.

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      Unanimous consent is not required to withdraw a pending unanimous-
  consent request. Manual Sec. 905.

                          Withdrawal of a Measure

      Under rule XVI clause 2, a resolution, including, a privileged 
  resolution, may be withdrawn at any time before a decision is made 
  thereon or an amendment thereto. For example, where the Speaker has 
  put the question on adoption of a resolution to a voice vote without 
  the ordering of the previous question, and the yeas and nays have not 
  been ordered, the resolution may be withdrawn. Manual Sec. 905. If the 
  resolution is called up in the House again, the Member calling up the 
  resolution is recognized for one hour, notwithstanding the fact that 
  the resolution previously has been considered, debated, and then 
  withdrawn before action is taken thereon. Manual Sec. 905. Withdrawal 
  of a pending resolution is not in order when the absence of a quorum 
  has been announced by the Chair. Manual Sec. 905.
      A conference report called up for consideration in the House may 
  be withdrawn from consideration at any time before action is taken 
  thereon. Deschler-Brown Ch 33 Sec. 20.9.

                        Withdrawal of an Amendment

      An amendment may be withdrawn in the House at any time before an 
  amendment is adopted thereto or a decision is had thereon. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 5753; 6 Cannon Sec. 587; 8 Cannon Sec. 2332. The same right to 
  withdraw an amendment exists in the forum known as ``the House as in 
  the Committee of the Whole.'' 4 Hinds Sec. 4935. Therefore, that right 
  exists in standing committees where general procedures of that forum 
  apply. Manual Sec. 427.
      Under rule XVIII clause 5, unanimous consent is required to 
  withdraw an amendment in Committee of the Whole, unless withdrawal 
  authority was conferred by the House. Manual Sec. 905; 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 5221; 6 Cannon Sec. 570; 8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 2465, 2859, 3405. 
  However, unanimous consent is not required to withdraw an amendment 
  that is at the Clerk's desk but that has not been offered by the 
  Member. Deschler Ch 27 Sec. 20.5.
      Where a substitute amendment is withdrawn by unanimous consent, an 
  amendment to the substitute also is withdrawn. Deschler Ch 27 
  Sec. 20.9. The withdrawal of an amendment by unanimous consent does 
  not preclude its being reoffered at the same stage of the proceedings, 
  and unanimous consent is not required to reoffer the amendment if 
  otherwise in order. Deschler Ch 27 Sec. 20.10.
      The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole will entertain a 
  unanimous-consent request to withdraw an amendment even when a point 
  of

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  order is pending against the amendment or against a substitute 
  therefor. Deschler Ch 27 Sec. Sec. 20.6, 20.7.


  Sec. 2 . Decisions That Prevent Withdrawal

      A decision that prevents withdrawal may consist of the following:

     The ordering of the yeas and nays, either directly on the 
         motion or on a motion to lay it on the table. 5 Hinds 
         Sec. Sec. 5353, 5354.
     The ordering of the previous question, or the demand therefor. 
         Manual Sec. 905; 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5355, 5489.
     The refusal to lay on the table. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5351, 5352; 
         8 Cannon Sec. 2640.

      Where the Chair postpones a voice vote under rule XX clause 8 when 
  an objection has been made for lack of a quorum, and that question 
  comes up later as postponed unfinished business, the proponent 
  unilaterally may withdraw it, because it becomes a question de novo. 
  Manual Sec. 905; see e.g., 101-1, July 24, 1989, pp 15794, 15818.


  Sec. 3 . Right to Modify Derived from Right to Withdraw

      As a general principle, modifications to a pending motion, if in 
  order at all, must be approved by the House. There is one narrow 
  exception to this principle. A Member having the right to withdraw a 
  motion before a decision is made thereon, and immediately thereafter 
  reoffer it, has the resulting right to modify the motion without 
  approval of the House. Manual Sec. 905; 5 Hinds Sec. 5358.
      For example, a Member having the right to withdraw a motion to 
  instruct conferees before a decision is made thereon, and the right to 
  offer a different motion at the same stage of proceedings (one not 
  subject to notice requirements), has the resulting power to modify the 
  motion. Manual Sec. 905. Similarly, a Member having the right to 
  withdraw a resolution offered as a question of privilege, and the 
  right to offer a different resolution as a question of privilege 
  immediately thereafter (one not subject to notice requirements), has 
  the resulting power to modify the resolution without the concurrence 
  of the House. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 1.
      In most cases, however, the right of withdrawal and resubmission 
  in a modified form does not exist. A resolution, if a privileged 
  report, may not be modified except by direction of the reporting 
  committee or with concurrence of the House. In the case of a 
  nonprivileged motion, the proponent may not be guaranteed the right to 
  immediately reoffer the motion, especially where it is a secondary 
  motion under rule XVI clause 4. Thus, although an amendment to a 
  motion pending in the House may be withdrawn by the Member offering 
  the amendment before it is acted upon, he is not

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  guaranteed the right to reoffer that amendment, and therefore he does 
  not have the right to modify the amendment without the consent of the 
  House. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 1.
      Other secondary motions specified under rule XVI clause 4, such as 
  the motions to lay on the table, for the previous question, to 
  postpone to a day certain, to refer, and to postpone indefinitely, may 
  be withdrawn before action is taken thereon but may not be modified 
  without the consent of the House. The motion that when the House 
  adjourns it adjourn to a day and time certain is in order only at the 
  Speaker's discretion and is therefore subject to modification by the 
  offeror only with the consent of the House. Deschler Ch 23 Sec. 1.
      In the Committee of the Whole, amendments may be withdrawn only by 
  unanimous consent, so the doctrine of unilateral modification is never 
  applicable in that forum.
      Pursuant to a unanimous consent request offered by the manager of 
  the pending motion, the House may modify a suspension motion during 
  its consideration or after the vote has been postponed de novo under 
  rule XX clause 8. See, e.g., 102-2, July 2, 1992, p 17220; 103-2, Oct. 
  3, 1994, p 27364. In the alternative, the manager may withdraw the 
  motion; and the Speaker may recognize him to reoffer the motion in a 
  modified form, in which case the debate on the motion begins anew. 
  Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 14.3.


  Sec. 4 . Points of Order

                                 Generally

      A motion may be withdrawn pending a point of order against its 
  consideration. If the motion is withdrawn, the Chair is not obligated 
  to rule on any point of order raised against it. Manual Sec. 905; 8 
  Cannon Sec. 3405. Similarly, a motion that the House resolve into the 
  Committee of the Whole for the consideration of a bill may be 
  withdrawn pending a point of order against consideration of the bill. 
  Manual Sec. 905.
      A motion may be withdrawn even after the previous question has 
  been ordered on an appeal from a decision on a point of order against 
  the motion. Furthermore, the motion being withdrawn, all proceedings 
  on the appeal fall thereby. 5 Hinds Sec. 5356.
      The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole may recognize for a 
  unanimous-consent request to withdraw an amendment before ruling on a 
  point of order. Deschler Ch 27 Sec. 20.6.

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                     Point of Order for Lack of Quorum

      When a point of order of no quorum is made, the point may be 
  withdrawn until announcement of the absence of a quorum, after which 
  the point of order may not be withdrawn even by unanimous consent. 
  Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 18. Objection to a voice vote for lack of a quorum 
  having been withdrawn, and demand for a division having been made, an 
  objection to the division vote for lack of a quorum is in order. If a 
  quorum is not present, the yeas and nays are automatic. Deschler Ch 20 
  Sec. 18.4.
      Withdrawal of a pending resolution is not in order when the 
  absence of a quorum has been announced by the Chair. Manual Sec. 905.

                Withdrawal of Reservation of Point of Order

      The reservation of a point of order by one Member inures to all. 
  However, withdrawal of a reservation by one Member requires other 
  Members to either make or continue to reserve the point of order at 
  that point, and a further reservation comes too late after there has 
  been debate. Deschler-Brown Ch 31 Sec. 3.14.

                             Words Taken Down

      When a demand is made that certain words used in debate be taken 
  down, such words may be withdrawn by unanimous consent in the House or 
  in the Committee of the Whole. Deschler-Brown Ch 29 Sec. Sec. 51.1, 
  51.2. The Speaker may suggest that a Member who had uttered 
  unparliamentary words request unanimous consent to withdraw them. 
  Deschler-Brown Ch 29 Sec. 51.11. No debate is in order pending a 
  request to withdraw unparliamentary words. Deschler-Brown Ch 29 
  Sec. 51.8. Like any other point of order, withdrawal of the demand 
  that words be taken down does not require unanimous consent.


  Sec. 5 . Requests for Record Votes

      A demand for a recorded vote may be withdrawn before the Chair 
  begins to count Members supporting the demand, and unanimous consent 
  is not required. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 33.20. Where a demand for a 
  recorded vote is pending, it may be withdrawn by the maker, but it is 
  not in order to condition its withdrawal on a modification in the 
  motion on which the vote is being taken. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 
  Sec. 33.23. Although a demand for the yeas and nays, once supported by 
  one-fifth of those present, cannot be withdrawn, the House may, by 
  unanimous consent, vacate the proceedings and take the vote de novo. 
  Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 33.24. In one instance a Member who demanded 
  a recorded vote asked unanimous consent

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  to withdraw his demand when, the recorded vote being under way, the 
  electronic system failed. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 33.22.
                             HOUSE PRACTICE