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A particular clause of a bill may be committed without the whole bill, 3 Hats., 131; or so much of a paper to one and so much to another committee.


When the report of a paper originating with a committee is taken up by the House, they proceed exactly as in committee. Here, as in committee, when the paragraphs have, on distinct questions, been agreed to seriatim, 5 Grey, 366; 6 Grey, 368; 8 Grey, 47, 104, 360; i Torbuck's Deb., 125; 3 Hats., 348, no question needs be put on the whole report. 5 Grey, 381.

On taking up a bill reported with amendments, the amendments only are read by the Clerk. The Speaker then reads the first, and puts it to the question, and so on till the whole are adopted or rejected, before any other amendment be admitted, except it be an amendment to an amendment. Elsynge's Mem., 53. When through the amendments of the committee, the Speaker pauses, and gives time for amendments to be proposed in the House to the body of the bill; as he does also if it has been reported without amendments ; putting no questions but on amendments proposed; and when through the whole, he puts the question whether the bill shall be read a third time?



If on motion and question the bill be not committed, or if no proposition for commitment be made, then the proceedings in the Senate of the United States and in Parliament are totally different. The former shall be first stated. (In the Senate.)

Rule XV-Clauses 1, 2. 1. All bills and joint resolutions which shall have received two readings shall first lie considered by the Senate as in Committee of the I hole, after which they shall be reported to the Senate; and any amendments made in Committee of the Whole shall again be considered by the Senate, after which further amendments may be proposed.

2. When a bill or resolution shall have been ordered to be read a third time, it shall not be in order to propose amendments, unless by unanimous consent, but it shall be in order at any time before the passage of any bill or resolution, to move its commitment; and when the bill or resolution shall again be reported from the committee, it shall be placed on the Calendar, and when again considered by the Senate, it shall be as in Committee of the Whole.

The proceeding of the Senate as in a Committee of the Whole, or in quasi-committee, is precisely as in a real Committee of the Whole, taking no question but on amendments. When through the whole, they consider the quasi-committee as risen, the House resumed without any motion, question, or resolution to that effect, and the President reports that “the House, acting as in a Committee of the Whole, have had under their consideration the bill entitled, &c., and have made sundry amendments, which he will now report to the House.” The bill is then before them, as it would have been if reported from a committee, and the questions are regularly to be put again on every amendment; which being gone through, the President pauses to give time to the House to propose amendments to the body of the bill, and, when through, puts the question whether it shall be read a third time ?

After progress in amending the bill in quasi-committee, a motion may be made to refer it to a special committee. If the motion prevails, it is equivalent in effect to the several votes, that the committee rise, the House resume itself, discharge the Committee of the Whole, and refer the bill to a special committee. In that case, the amendments already made fall. But if the motion fails, the quasicommittee stands in statu quo.

How far does this XVth rule subject the House, when in quasicommittee, to the laws which regulate the proceedings of Committees of the Whole? The particulars in which these differ from proceedings in the House are the following: 1. In a committee every member may speak as often as he pleases. 2. The votes of a committee may be rejected or altered when reported to the House. 3. A committee, even of the whole, cannot refer any matter to another committee. 4. In a committee no previous question can be taken ; the only means to avoid an improper discussion is to move that the committee rise; and if it be apprehended that the same discussion will be attempted on returning into committee, the House can discharge them, and proceed itself on the business, keeping down the improper discussion by the previous question. 5. A committee cannot punish a breach of order in the House or in the gallery. 9 Grey, 113. It can only rise and report it to the House, who may proceed to punish. The first and second of these peculiarities attach to the quasi-committee of the Senate, as every day's practice proves, and it seems to be the only ones to which the XXVth rule meant to subject them; for it continues to be a House, and, therefore, though it acts in some respects as a committee, in others it preserves its character as a House. Thus (3) it is in the daily habit of referring its business to a special committee. 4. It admits of the previous question. If it did not, it would have no means of preventing an improper discussion; not being able, as a committee is, to avoid it by returning into the House, for the moment it would resume the same subject there, the XXVth rule declares it again a quasi-committee. 5. It would doubtless exercise its powers as a House on any breach of order. 6. It takes a question by yea and nay, as the House does. 7. It receives messages from the President and the other House. 8. In the midst of a debate it receives a motion to adjourn, and adjourns as a House, not as a committee.


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; and 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.

* 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

* Under the present rules of the Senate (Rule XV, Clause 2) no measure can be amended after it has been ordered to be read a third time, unless by unanimous consent, but as matter of fact the engrossment is not made until the measure has finally passed.


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 Senate. In reducing numerous, difficult, and illegible amendments into the text, the Secretary may, with the most innocent intentions, commit errors which can never again be corrected.

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 every one 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?

When the bill is engrossed, the title is to be indorsed on the back, and not within the bill.--Hakew, 250.


Where papers are laid before the House or referred to a committee, every member has a right to have them once read at the table before he can be compelled to vote on them; but it is a great though common error to suppose that he has a right, toties quoties, to have acts, journals, accounts, or papers on the table, read independently of the will of the House. The delay and interruption which this might be made to produce evince the impossibility of the existence of such a right. There is, indeed, so manifest a propriety of permitting every member to have as much information as possible on every question on which he is to vote, that when he desires the reading, if it be seen that it is really for information and not for delay, the Speaker directs it to be read without putting a question, if no one objects; but if objected to, a question must be put.—2 Hats.,

117, 118.

Rule XI.

(In the Senate.]

When the reading of a paper is called for, and objected to, it shall be determined by a vote of the Senate, without debate.

It is equally an error to suppose that any member has a right, without a question put, to lay a book or paper on the table, and have it read, on suggesting that it contains matter infringing on the privileges of the House.—Ib.

For the same reason, a member has not a right to read a paper in his place, if it be objected to, without leave of the House. But this rigor is never exercised but where there is an intentional or gross abuse of the time and patience of the House.

A member has not a right even to read his own speech, committed to writing, without leave. This also is to prevent an abuse of time, and therefore is not refused but where that is intended.—2 Grey, 227.

A report of a committee of the Senate on a bill from the House of Representatives being under consideration : on motion that the report of the committee of the House of Representatives on the same bill be read in the Senate, it passed in the negative.- Feb. 28, 1793

Formerly, when papers were referred to a committee, they used to be first read; but of late only the titles, unless a member insists they shall be read, and then nobody can oppose it.—2 Hats., 117.


It is no possession of a bill unless it be delivered to the Clerk to read, or the Speaker reads the title. - Lex. Parl., 274; Elysynge Mem., 85; Ord. House of Commons, 64.

It is a general rule that the question first moved and seconded

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