[Constitution, Jefferson's Manual, and the Rules of the House of Representatives, 114th Congress]
[House Document 113-181]
[Jeffersons Manual of ParliamentaryPractice]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]
sec. xxxviii--equivalent questions
The House has abandoned the question ``Shall the bill be rejected?''
(IV, 3391), and the question is now taken in accordance with clause 8 of
rule XVI. A vote is not taken on the second reading, the first test
coming in the modern practice of the House on the engrossment and third
Sec. 484. Former practice as to rejection and second
reading of bills.
If, on a question for rejection, a bill be retained, it
passes, of course, to its next reading. Hakew., 141; Scob., 42. And a
question for a second reading, determined negatively, is a rejection
without further question. 4 Grey, 149. And see Elsynge's Memor., 42, in
what case questions are to be taken for rejection.
The principles set forth in this paragraph are recognized by the
practice of the House; but Jefferson's use of the motion to strike as an
illustration is no longer justified, because the practice of the House
under clause 5(c) of rule XVI does not permit the negative of the motion
to strike to be equivalent to the affirmative of agreeing.
Sec. 485. Equivalent questions in
Where questions are perfectly equivalent, so that the negative of the one
amounts to the affirmative of the other, and leaves no other
alternative, the decision of the one concludes necessarily the other. 4
Grey, 157. Thus the negative of striking out amounts to the affirmative
of agreeing; and therefore to put a question on agreeing after that on
striking out, would be to put the same question in effect twice over.
Not so in questions of amendments between the two Houses. A motion to
recede being negatived, does not amount to a positive vote to insist,
because there is another alternative, to wit, to adhere.
In the House and the Senate the order of precedence of motions is as
given in the parliamentary law, and the motions take precedence in that
order without regard to the order in which they are moved (V, 6270,
6324). But a motion to amend an amendment of the other House has
precedence of the motion to agree or disagree either before the stage of
disagreement has been reached or after the House has receded from its
disagreement (V, 6164, 6169-6171; VIII, 3203) even after the previous
question has been ordered on both motions before the question is divided
(Feb. 12, 1923, p. 3512). See also the discussion in Sec. 525, infra.
But it has been held that when the previous question has been demanded
or ordered on a motion to concur, a motion to amend is not in order (V,
5488). The motion to refer also takes precedence of the motions to agree
or disagree (V, 6172-6174), but the demanding or ordering of the
previous question does not prevent a motion to refer (V, 5575). The
motion to refer takes precedence of the motions to agree or disagree
and, under clause 2 of rule XIX is in order pending a demand for or
after the ordering of the previous question, before the stage of
disagreement has been reached (V, 5575, 6172-6174), but not after the
stage of disagreement when the most preferential motion tending to bring
the two Houses together is already pending (Speaker Albert, Sept. 16,
1976, p. 30887).
to propose amendments, and to make it as perfect as they can, before the
question of disagreeing is put.
Sec. 486. Equivalent questions on amendments between
A bill originating in one House is passed by the other with an
amendment. A motion in the originating House to agree to the amendment
is negatived. Does there result from this a vote of disagreement, or
must the question on disagreement be expressly voted? The question
respecting amendments from another House are--1st, to agree; 2d,
disagree; 3d, recede; 4th, insist; 5th, adhere.
Sec. 487. The motions to agree and disagree as related
to motions to amend.
1st. To agree; 2d. To disagree.--Either of these
concludes the other necessarily, for the positive of either is exactly
the equivalent to the negative of the other, and no other alternative
remains. On either motion amendments to the amendment may be proposed;
e.g., if it be moved to disagree, those who are for the amendment have a
5th. To adhere.--You may then either recede or insist.
Consequently the negative of these is not equivalent to a positive
vote the other way. It does not raise so necessary an implication as may
authorize the Secretary by inference to enter another vote; for two
alternatives still remain, either of which may be adopted by the House.
Under the earlier practice in the House it was held that voting down
the motion to recede and concur was tantamount to insistence but not the
equivalent of adherence (Speaker Clark, July 2, 1918, p. 8648). But the
more recent practice is that when the House disagrees to a motion to
recede and concur in a Senate amendment some further action must be
taken to dispose of the amendment (Speaker Bankhead, July 9, 1937, p.
7007; Speaker McCormack, Sept. 19, 1962, p. 19945) and the question may
recur on a pending motion to insist or such a motion is then entertained
from the floor (Deschler-Brown, ch. 32, Sec. 7.21; Speaker Albert, June
25, 1973, p. 21172).
Sec. 488. No equivalent questions on
motions to recede, insist, and adhere.
3d. To recede.--You may then either insist or
adhere. 4th. To insist.--You may then either
recede or adhere.