[Constitution, Jefferson's Manual, and the Rules of the House of Representatives, 115th Congress]
[House Document 114-192]
[Jeffersons Manual of ParliamentaryPractice]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]
This parliamentary rule applies in the House, where the hour rule of
debate (clause 2 of rule XVII) has been in force since 1841. A Member
who has spoken an hour to the main question may speak another hour to an
amendment (V, 4994; VIII, 2449).
Sec. 465. Right of the Member who has spoken to the main
question to speak to an amendment.
On an amendment being moved, a
Member who had spoken to the main question may speak again to the
amendment. Scob., 23.
The practice of the House follows and extends the principle set forth
by Jefferson. Thus it has been held that the fact that a proposed
amendment is inconsistent with the text or embodies a proposition
already voted (II, 1328-1336; VIII, 2834), or would in effect change a
provision of text to which both Houses have agreed (II, 1335; V, 6183-
6185), or is contained in substance in a later portion of the bill (II,
1327), is a matter to be passed on by the House rather than by the
Speaker. It is for the House rather than the Speaker to decide on the
legislative or legal effect of a proposition (II, 1323, 1324; VI, 254;
VII, 2112; VIII, 2280, 2841), and the change of a single word in the
text of a proposition may be sufficient to prevent the Speaker from
ruling it out of order as one already disposed of by the House (II,
1274). The principle has been the subject of conflicting decisions, from
which may be deduced the rule that the Chair may not rule out the
proposition unless it presents a substantially identical proposition
(VI, 256; VIII, 2834, 2835, 2838, 2840, 2842, 2850, 2856).
A perfecting amendment offered to an amendment in the nature of a
substitute may be offered again as an amendment to the original bill if
the amendment is first rejected or if the amendment in the nature of a
substitute as perfected is rejected (Sept. 28, 1976, p. 33075).
Rejection of an amendment consisting of two sections does not preclude
one of those sections being subsequently offered as a separate amendment
(July 15, 1981, p. 15898), and the rejection of several amendments
considered en bloc does not preclude their being offered separately at a
subsequent time (Deschler, ch. 27, Sec. 35.15; Nov. 4, 1991, p. 29932).
A point of order against an amendment to a substitute does not lie
merely because its adoption would have the same effect as the adoption
of a pending amendment to the original amendment and would render the
substitute as amended identical to the original amendment as amended
(May 4, 1983, p. 11059).
Sec. 466. The Speaker not to decide as to consistency of
a proposed amendment with one already agreed to.
If an amendment be proposed
inconsistent with one already agreed to, it is a fit ground for its
rejection by the House, but not within the competence of the Speaker to
suppress as if it were against order. For were he permitted to draw
questions of consistence within the vortex or order, he might usurp a
negative on important modifications, and suppress, instead of
subserving, the legislative will.
This was the rule of Parliament, which did not require an amendment to
be germane (V, 5802, 5825). But the House from its first organization,
has by rule required that an amendment should be germane to the pending
proposition (clause 7 of rule XVI).
Sec. 467. The parliamentary law and the Rules
of the House as to germane amendments.
Amendments may be made so as totally to alter
the nature of the proposition; and it is a way of getting rid of a
proposition by making it bear a sense different from what it was
intended by the movers, so that they vote against it themselves. 2
Hats., 79; 4, 82, 84. A new bill may be ingrafted, by way of amendment,
on the words, ``Be it enacted,'' etc. 1 Grey, 190, 192.
amendment to strike from the specified words in the text of the bill a
portion of them. If this is carried that portion of the specified words
is stricken from the bill and the vote then recurs on the original
amendment (V, 5770). Where a motion to strike an entire title of a bill
is pending, it is in order to offer, as a perfecting amendment to that
title, a motion to strike a lesser portion thereof, and the perfecting
amendment is voted on first (June 11, 1975, p. 18435). And when a motion
to strike certain words is disagreed to, it is in order to move to
strike a portion of those words (V, 5769); but when it is proposed to
strike certain words in a paragraph, it is not in order to amend those
words by including with them other words of the paragraph (V, 5768;
VIII, 2848; June 2, 1976, pp. 16208-10). It is in order to insert by way
of amendment a paragraph similar (but not actually identical) to one
already stricken by amendment (V, 5760; VIII, 2839; Sept. 2, 1976, pp.
In the House the question herein described is never put, but is always
whether the words shall be stricken; and if there is a desire that
certain of the words included in the amendment remain part of the bill,
it is expressed, not by amending the amendment, but by a preferential
Sec. 468. The amendment to strike certain words of a
If it be proposed to amend by leaving out certain words, it may be moved,
as an amendment to this amendment, to leave out a part of the words of
the amendment, which is equivalent to leaving them in the bill. 2 Hats.,
80, 9. The parliamentary question is, always, whether the words shall
stand part of the bill.
added at the end (V, 5759, 5764, 5765; Dec. 14, 1973, p. 41740; Oct. 1,
1974, p. 33364), even if the perfecting amendment that was adopted
struck out all after the short title of the amendment in the nature of a
substitute and inserted a new text (May 16, 1979, p. 11420). Although an
amendment that has been adopted to an amendment (in the nature of a
substitute) may not be further amended, another amendment adding
language at the end of the amendment may still be offered (June 10,
1976, pp. 17368-75, 17381; May 16, 1984, pp. 12566-67), and the Chair
will not rule on the consistency of that language with the adopted
amendment (June 10, 1976, p. 17381).
These principles are recognized as in force in the House, with the
exception that clause 5(c) of rule XVI specifically provides that the
rejection of a motion to strike shall preclude neither amendment nor
motion to strike and insert. However, after an amendment to insert has
been agreed to, the matter inserted ordinarily may not then be amended
(V, 5761-5763; VIII, 2852) in any way that would change its text. Where
a special order of business provides that an amendment inserting a
provision in the bill be considered as adopted, an amendment to strike
that provision is not in order (May 23, 2002, pp. 8920-24). However, an
amendment may be
Although it may be in order to offer an amendment to the pending
portion of the bill that not only changes a provision already amended
but also changes an unamended pending portion of the bill, it is not in
order merely to amend portions of the bill that have been changed by
amendment (Mar. 11, 1999, p. 4335), or to amend unamended portions that
have been passed in the reading and are no longer open to amendment
(July 12, 1983, p. 18771), or to amend a figure already amended
(Deschler, ch. 27, Sec. 33.2; July 17, 1995, p. 19186), even if also
changing other matter not already amended, where drafted as though the
earlier amendment had not been adopted (Mar. 15, 1995, p. 8025; Mar. 16,
1995, p. 8110; Mar. 16, 1995, p. 8112; July 17, 1995, p. 19196). A point
of order that a pending amendment proposes to change portions of the
bill that have been changed by earlier amendment may be made after a
unanimous-consent request to modify the amendment has been disposed of
but before debate has begun (Mar. 11, 1999, p. 4335). Where the vote on
an amendment to strike a section and insert new language is postponed by
the chair of the Committee of the Whole, an amendment to strike the same
section and insert different language is in order; and if both
amendments are adopted, the second amendment adopted supersedes the
first and is the only one reported to the House (Aug. 6, 1998, p.
if agreed to when voted on first, remains part of the bill if the motion
to strike is then rejected (Sept. 18, 1986, p. 28123). When a motion to
strike a paragraph is pending and the paragraph is perfected by an
amendment striking and inserting an entire new text, the pending motion
to strike must fall, because it would not be in order to strike exactly
what has been just inserted (V, 5792; VIII, 2854; July 12, 1951, p.
8090; Sept. 23, 1975, p. 29835; Aug. 5, 1986, p. 19059; May 18, 1988, p.
11404; Apr. 24, 1996, p. 8781). A motion to strike and insert a portion
of a pending section is not in order as a substitute for a motion to
strike the section, but may be offered as a perfecting amendment to the
section and is voted on first, subject to being eliminated by subsequent
adoption of the motion to strike (July 16, 1981, p. 16057).
When it is proposed to perfect a paragraph, a motion to strike it, if
already pending, must remain in abeyance until the amendments to perfect
have been moved and voted on (V, 5758; VIII, 2860; May 5, 1992, p.
10110; Oct. 12, 1995, p. 27816; July 27, 1999, p. 18074). If further
proceedings are postponed on the perfecting amendment, debate may
continue on the underlying motion to strike (July 27, 1999). While
amendments are pending to a section, a motion to strike it may not be
offered (V, 5771; VIII, 2861; Sept. 23, 1982, p. 24963; July 25, 1995,
p. 20299). The motion to strike may be voted on (if already pending) or
subsequently offered after disposition of the perfecting amendment, so
long as the provision sought to be stricken has not been rewritten
entirely (Sept. 23, 1982, p. 24963; July 25, 1995, p. 20299). While a
motion to strike is pending, it is in order to offer an amendment to
perfect the language proposed to be stricken (Apr. 24, 1996, p. 8777);
such an amendment, which is in the first degree, may be amended by a
substitute, and amendments to the substitute are also in order (Oct. 19,
1983, p. 28283), and such perfecting amendment,
Sec. 469. Principles as to perfecting before
inserting or striking.
When it is proposed to amend by inserting a paragraph, or
part of one, the friends of the paragraph may make it as perfect as they
can by amendments before the question is put for inserting it. If it be
received, it cannot be amended afterward in the same stage, because the
House has, on a vote, agreed to it in that form. In like manner, if it
is proposed to amend by striking out a paragraph, the friends of the
paragraph are first to make it as perfect as they can by amendments,
before the question is put for striking it out. If on the question it be
retained, it cannot be amended afterward, because a vote against
striking out is equivalent to a vote agreeing to it in that form.
Clause 5(c) of rule XVI provides that the motion to strike and insert
is not divisible. As to the manner of stating the question, the Clerk
reads only the words to be stricken and the words to be inserted.
and insert A is one proposition. To strike out and insert B is a
different proposition. And to strike out and insert nothing is still
different. And the rejection of one proposition does not preclude the
offering a different one. Nor would it change the case were the first
motion divided by putting the question first on striking out, and that
negatived; for, as putting the whole motion to the question at once
would not have precluded, the putting the half of it cannot do it.
Sec. 470. Reading the motion and putting the
question on a motion to strike and insert.
When it is moved to amend by striking
out certain words and inserting others, the manner of stating the
question is first to read the whole passage to be amended as it stands
at present, then the words proposed to be struck out, next those to be
inserted, and lastly the whole passage as it will be when amended. And
the question, if desired, is then to be divided, and put first on
striking out. If carried, it is next on inserting the words proposed. If
that be lost, it may be moved to insert others. 2 Hats., 80, 7.
As to Jefferson's supposition that the principle would hold good in
case of division of the motion to strike and insert it is not necessary
to inquire, because clause 5(c) of rule XVI forbids division of that
motion. In a footnote Jefferson expressed himself as follows: ``In the
case of a division of the question, and a decision against striking out,
I advanced doubtingly the opinion here expressed. I find no authority
either way, and I know it may be viewed under a different aspect. It may
be thought that, having decided separately not to strike the passage,
the same question for striking out cannot be put over again, though with
a view to a different insertion. Still I think it more reasonable and
convenient to consider the striking out and insertion as forming one
proposition, but should readily yield to any evidence that the contrary
is the practice in Parliament.'' Where two amendments proposing
inconsistent motions to strike and insert a pending section are
considered as separate first degree amendments (not one as a substitute
for the other) before either is finally disposed of under a special
procedure permitting the Chair to postpone requests for a recorded vote,
the Chair's order of voting on the matter as unfinished business
determines which amendment (if both were adopted) would be reported to
the House (Aug. 6, 1998, pp. 19098-107).
Sec. 471. Conditions of repetition of motions to
strike and insert.
A motion is made to amend by striking out certain words and
inserting others in their place, which is negatived. Then it is moved to
strike out the same words, and to insert others of a tenor entirely
different from those first proposed. It is negatived. Then it is moved
to strike out the same words and insert nothing, which is agreed to. All
this is admissible, because to strike out
The mover of B should have notified, while the insertion of A was under
debate, that he would move to insert B; in which case those who
preferred it would join in rejecting A.
Sec. 472. Application of the motion to
The principle set forth by Jefferson as to repetition of the motion to
strike prevails in the House, where it has been held in order, after the
failure of a motion to strike certain words, to move to strike a portion
of those words (V, 5769; VIII, 2858). When a bill is under consideration
by paragraphs, a motion to strike can apply only to the paragraph under
consideration (V, 5774).
This principle controls the practice of the House (July 17, 1985, p.
19444; July 18, 1985, p. 19649; Deschler, ch. 27, Sec. 31.14).
Sec. 473. Effect of affirmative vote on motion to
strike and insert.
But if it had been carried affirmatively to strike out the
words and to insert A, it could not afterward be permitted to strike out
A and insert B.
Although it is not in order to move to strike a provision inserted by
amendment (Oct. 9, 1985, p. 26957), a motion to strike more than that
provision inserted would be in order (Apr. 23, 1975, p. 11536). But an
amendment to strike the pending title of a bill and re-insert all
sections of that title except one is not in order if that section has
previously been amended in its entirety (Aug. 1, 1975, p. 26946).
blanks for time. But when a specific time stands part of a motion, that
may be struck out as well as any other part of the motion; and when
struck out, a motion may be received to insert any other. In fact, it is
not until they are struck out, and a blank for the time thereby
produced, that the rule can begin to operate, by receiving all the
propositions for different times, and putting the questions successively
on the longest. Otherwise it would be in the power of the mover by
inserting originally a short time, to preclude the possibility of a
longer; for till the short time is struck out, you cannot insert a
longer; and if, after it is struck out, you cannot do it, then it cannot
be done at all. Suppose the first motion had been made to amend by
striking out ``the second Tuesday in February,'' and inserting instead
thereof ``the first of June,'' it would have been regular, then, to
divide the question, by proposing first the question to strike out, and
then that to insert. Now, this is precisely the effect of the present
proceeding; only, instead of one motion and two questions, there are two
motions and two questions to effect it--the motion being divided as well
as the question.
Sec. 474. Conditions of striking an amendment already
After A is inserted, however, it may be moved to strike out a
portion of the original paragraph, comprehending A, provided the
coherence to be struck out be so substantial as to make this effectively
a different proposition; for then it is resolved into the common case of
striking out a paragraph after amending it. Nor does anything forbid a
new insertion, instead of A and its coherence.
The principles of this paragraph have been followed in the House (V,
5763; Aug. 16, 1961, p. 16059), but in one case wherein words embodying
a distinct substantive proposition had been agreed to as an amendment to
a paragraph, it was held not in order to strike a part of the words of
this amendment with other words of the paragraph (V, 5766).
The motion to strike and insert may not be divided in the House
(clause 5(c) of rule XVI).
Sec. 475. Amendments filling blanks as to
In Senate, January 25, 1798, a motion to postpone until the second Tuesday
in February some amendments proposed to the Constitution; the words
``until the second Tuesday in February'' were struck out by way of
amendment. Then it was moved to add, ``until the first day of June.''
Objected that it was not in order, as the question should be first put
on the longest time; therefore, after a shorter time decided against, a
longer cannot be put to question. It was answered that this rule takes
place only in filling
In the modern practice each bill comes before the House by itself; and
if it were proposed to join one bill to another it would be done by
offering the text of the one as an amendment to the other, without
disturbing the first bill in its place on the calendar. The Committee on
Rules may report a special order providing for separate consideration of
two or more bills and, after passage of each, ``linking'' them by adding
the text of the subsequent bills to the engrossment of the first,
sometimes tabling the separate versions of the subsequent bills (e.g.,
June 16, 1999, p. 13080).
Sec. 476. Joining and dividing bills.
When the matter
contained in two bills might be better put into one, the manner is to
reject the one and incorporate its matter into another bill by way of
amendment. So if the matter of one bill would be better distributed into
two, any part may be struck out by way of amendment, and put into a new
bill. * * *
This principle is followed in the practice of the House (V, 5775,
Sec. 477. Transposition of the sections of a
* * * If a section is to be transposed, a question must be put on striking
it out where it stands and another for inserting it in the place
Sec. 478. Filling blanks left by the other
A bill passed by the one House with blanks. These may be filled up by
the other by way of amendments, returned to the first as such, and
passed 3 Hats., 83.
erences when preparing the engrossment of the bill. Such a request is
properly made in the House, following passage of the bill (Apr. 29,
1969, p. 10753).
In the modern practice of the House, section numbers and other
internal references are considered as part of the text that may be
altered by amendment. The House sometimes authorizes the Clerk to make
appropriate changes in section numbers, paragraphs and punctuation, and
Sec. 479. Clerk amends the section numbers of a
The number prefixed to the section of a bill, be merely a marginal
indication, and no part of the text of the bill, the Clerk regulates
that--the House or committee is only to amend the text.