[Constitution, Jefferson's Manual, and the Rules of the House of Representatives, 109th Congress]
[House Document 108-241]
[Jeffersons Manual of ParliamentaryPractice]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]
sec. xxxi--bill, second reading in the house
may, with the most innocent intentions, commit errors which can never
again be corrected.
But the Senate of the United States is so much in the habit of making
many and material amendments at the third reading that it has become the
practice not to engross a bill till it has passed--an irregular and
dangerous practice, because in this way the paper which passes the
Senate is not that which goes to the other House, and that which goes to
the other House as the act of the Senate has never been seen in the
Senate. In reducing numerous, difficult, and illegible amendments into
the text the Secretary
In the House the Clerk and not the Speaker or Chairman of the
Committee of the Whole reads bills on second reading. After the second
reading, which is by paragraph or section in the Committee of the Whole,
the bill is open to amendment (see Sec. 980, infra). Clause 8 of rule
XVI, as explained in Sec. 942, infra, governs first and second readings
of bills in the House and in Committee of the Whole.
Sec. 428. Manner of reading a bill the second
In Parliament, after the bill has been read a second time, if on
the motion and question it be not committed, or if no proposition for
commitment be made, the speaker reads it by paragraphs, pausing between
each, but putting no question but on amendments proposed; but when
through the whole, he puts the question whether it shall be read a third
time, if it came from the other house, or, if originating with
themselves, whether it shall be engrossed and read a third time. The
speaker reads sitting, but rises to put questions. The clerk stands
while he reads.
When the bill is engrossed the title is to be indorsed on the back, and
not within the bill. Hakew, 250.
Sec. 429. Test of strength on engrossment after
The bill being now as perfect as its friends can make it, this
is the proper stage for those fundamentally opposed to make their first
attack. All attempts at earlier periods are with disjointed efforts,
because many who do not expect to be in favor of the bill ultimately,
are willing to let it go on to its perfect state, to take time to
examine it themselves and to hear what can be said for it, knowing that
after all they will have sufficient opportunities of giving it their
veto. Its two last stages, therefore, are reserved for this--that is to
say, on the question whether it shall be engrossed and read a third
time, and, lastly, whether it shall pass. The first of these is usually
the most interesting contest, because then the whole subject is new and
engaging, and the minds of the Members having not yet been declared by
any trying vote the issue is the more doubtful. In this stage,
therefore, is the main trial of strength between its friends and
opponents, and it behooves everyone to make up his mind decisively for
this question, or he loses the main battle; and accident and management
may, and often do, prevent a successful rallying on the next and last
question, whether it shall pass.
In the practice of the House and the Senate the title appears in its
proper place in the engrossed bill, and also is endorsed, with the
number, on the back.
Sec. 430. Test of strength on a bill before amending.
House there are two other means of testing strength--one by raising the
question of consideration when the bill first comes up (clause 3 of rule
XVI), and the other by moving to strike out the enacting words when it
is first open to amendment (clause 9 of rule XVIII). By these methods an
adverse opinion may be expressed without permitting the bill to consume
the time of the House.