« PreviousContinue »
SEC. XXV.-BILLS, SECOND READING.
RULE XIV-Clause 3.
The second reading must regularly be on another day. Hakew., 143 It is done by the Clerk at the table, who then hands it to the Speaker. The Speaker, rising, states to the House the title of the bill; that this is the second time of reading it; and that the question will be, whether it shall be committed, or engrossed and read, a third time? But if the bill came from the other House, as it always comes engrossed, he states that the question will be, whether it shall be read a third time? and before he has so reported the state of the will, no one is to speak to it. Hakew., 143, 146. (In the Senate.)
3. No bill or joint resolution shall be committed or amended until it shall have been twice read, after which it may be referred to a committee ; bills and joint resolutions introduced on leave, and bills and joint resolutio from the House of Representatives, shall be read once, and may be read twice, on the same day, if not objected to, for reference, but shall not be considered on that day as in Committee of the Whole, nor debated, except for reference, unless by unanimous consent.
In the Senate of the United States, the President reports the title of the bill; that this is the second time of reading it; that it is now to be considered as in a Committee of the Whole; and the question will be, whether it shall be read a third time? or that it may be referred to a special committee?
SEC. XXVI.-BILLS, COMMITMENT.
If on motion and question it be decided that the bill shall be committed, it may then be moved to be referred to Committee of the Whole House, or to a special committee. If the latter, the Speaker proceeds to name the committee. Any member also may name a single person, and the Clerk is to write him down as of the committee. But the House have a controlling power over the names and number, if a question be moved against any one; and may in any case put in and put out whom they please. (In the Senate.)
RULE XXIT-Clause 1, 1. When motions are made for reference of a subject to a select committee, or to a standing committee, the question of reference to a standing committee shall be put first; and a motion simply to refer shall not be open to amendment, except to add instructions.
Those who take exceptions to some particulars in the bill are to be of the committee, but none who speak directly against the body of the bill; for he that would totally destroy will not amend it, Hakew., 146; Town., col., 208; D'Ewes, 634, col. 2; Scob., 47; or, as is said, 5 Grey, 145, the child is not to be put to a nurse that cares not for it, 6 Grey, 373. It is therefore a constant rule “that no man is to be employed in any matter who has declared himself against it.” And when any member who is against the bill hears himself named of its committee, he ought to ask to be excused. Thus, March 7, 1606, Mr. Hadley was, on the question being put, excused from being of a committee, declaring himself to be against the matter itself. Scob., 46.
The Clerk may deliver the bill to any member of the committee, Town., col. 138; but it is usual to deliver it to him who is first named.
In some cases the House has ordered a committee to withdraw immediately into the committee chamber, and act on and bring back the bill, sitting the House. Scob., 48. A committee meet when and where they please, if the House has not ordered time and place for them, 6 Grey, 370; but they can only act when together, and not by separate consultation and consent-nothing being the report of the committee but what has been agreed to in committee actually assembled.
A majority of the committee constitutes a quorum for business. Elsynge's Method of Passing Bills, u.
Any member of the House may be present at any select committee, but cannot vote, and niust give place to all of the committee, and sit below them. Elsynge, 12; Scob., 49.
The committee have full power over the bill or other paper committed to them, except that they cannot change the title or subject. 8 Grey, 228.
The paper before a committee, whether select or of the whole, may be a bill, resolutions, draught of an address, &c., and it may either originate with them or be referred to them. In every case the whole paper is read first by the Clerk, and then by the chairman, by paragraphs, Scob., 49, pausing at the end of each paragraph, and putting questions for amending, if proposed. In the case of resolutions on distinct subjects, originating with themselves, a question is put on each separately, as amended or unamended, and no final question on the whole, 3 Hats., 276; but if they relate to the same subject, a question is put on the whole. If it be a bill, draught of an address, or other paper originating with them, they proceed by paragraphs, putting questions for amending, either by insertion or striking out, if proposed; but no question on agreeing to the paragraphs separately; this is reserved to the close, when a question is put on the whole, for agreeing to it as amended or unamended.
But if it be a paper referred to them, they proceed to put questions of amendment, if proposed, but no final question on the whole; because all parts of the paper, having been adopted by the House, stand, of course, unless altered or struck out by a vote. Even if they are opposed to the whole paper, and think it cannot be made good by amendments, they cannot reject it, but must report it back to the House without amendments, and there make their opposition.
The natural order in considering and amending any paper is, to begin at the beginning, and proceed through it by paragraphs; and this order is so strictly adhered to in Parliament, that when a latter part has been amended, you cannot recur back and make any alteration in a former part. 2 Hats., 90.
In numerous assemblies this restraint is doubtless important. But in the Senate of the United States, though in the main we consider and amend the paragraphs in their natural order, yet recurrences are indulged; and they seem, on the whole, in that small body, to produce advantages overweighing their inconveniences.
To this natural order of beginning at the beginning, there is a single exception found in parliamentary usage. When a bill is taken up in committee, or on its second reading, they postpone the preamble till the other parts of the bill are gone through. The reason is, that on consideration of the body of the bill such alterations may therein be made as may also occasion the alteration of the preamble. Scob., 50; 7 Grey, 431.
On this head the following case occurred in the Senate, March 6, 1800: A resolution which had no preamble having been already amended by the House so that a few words only of the original remained in it, a motion was made to prefix a preamble, which having an aspect very different from the resolution, the mover intimated that he should afterwards propose a correspondent amendment in the body of the resolution. It was objected that a preamble could not be taken up till the body of the resolution is done with; but the preamble was received, because we are in fact through the body of the resolution; we have amended that as far as amendments have been offered, and, indeed, till little of the original is left. It is the proper time, therefore, to consider a preamble; and whether the one offered be consistent with the resolution is for the House to determine. The mover, indeed, has intimated that he shall offer a subsequent proposition for the body of the resolution; but the House is not in possession of it; it remains in his breast, and may be withheld. The rules of the House can only operate on what is before them. The practice of the Senate, too, allows recurrences backward and forward for the purpose of amendment, not permitting amendments in a subsequent to preclude those in a prior part, or e converso. [In the Senate.]
Rule XXI. When a bill or resolution is accompanied by a preamble, the question shall first be put on the bill or resolution and then on the preamble, which may be withdrawn by a mover before an amendment of the same, or ordering of the yeas and nays; or it may be laid on the table without prejudice to the bill or resolution, and shall be a final disposition of such preamble.
When the committee is through the whole, a member moves that the committee may rise, and the chairman report the paper to the House, with or without amendments, as the case may be. 2 Hats., 289, 292; Scob., 53; 2 Hats., 290; 8 Scob., 50.
When a vote is once passed in a committee, it cannot be altered but by the House, their votes being binding on themselves. 1607, June 4.
The committee may not erase, interline, or blot the bill itself: but must, in a paper by itself set down the amendments, stating the words which are to be inserted or omitted, Scob., 50, and where, by references to page, line, and word of the bill.
SEC. XXVII.-REPORT OF COMMITTEE.
The chairman of the committee, standing in his place, informs the House that the committee to whom was referred such a bill, have, according to order, had the same under consideration, and have directed him to report the same without any amendment, cr with sundry amendments (as the case may be), which he is ready to do when the House pleases to receive it. And he or any other may move that it be now received; but the cry of “now, now," from the House, generally dispenses with the formality of a motion and question. He then reads the amendments, with the coherence in the bill, and opens the alterations and the reasons of the committee for such amendments, until he has gone through the whole. He then delivers it at the Clerk's table, where the amendments reported are read by the Clerk without the coherence; whereupon the papers lie upon the table till the House, at its convenience, shall take up the report. Scob., 52; Hakew., 148. [In the Senate.)
2. All reports of committees and motions to discharge a committee from the consideration of a subject, and all subjects from which a committee shall be discharged, shall lie over one day for consideration, unless by unanimous consent the Senate shall otherwise direct.
The report being made, the committee is dissolved, and can act no more without a new power. Scob., 51. But it may be revived by a vote, and the same matter recommitted to them. 4 Grey, 361.
Rule XX17-Clause 2.
SEC. XXVIII.-BILL, RECOMMITMENT.
After a bill has been committed and reported, it ought not, in an ordinary course, to be recommitted; but in cases of importance, and for special reasons, it is sometimes recommitted, and usually to the same committee. Hakew., 151. If a report be recommitted before agreed to in the House, what has passed in committee is of no validity; the whole question is again before the committee, and a new resolution must be again moved, as if nothing had passed. 3 Hats., 131-note.
In Senate, January, 1800, the salvage bill was recommitted three times after the commitment.