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article of the Constitution provides that the House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States. This implies necessarily that the term is for two years, and as the term of the members elected to the First Congress commenced on Wednesday, the 4th day of March, 1789, their term expired, by operation of the Constitution, on the 4th day of March, 1791; and, by a like necessity, the term of their successors commenced on the same day. As that provision of the Constitution has been operative without modification from that day to this, it has not been possible to make any change in the commencement or ending of a Congress, or of the terms of Members of the House of Representatives.
It thus appears also that a term of Congress is as fixed as though specific provision had been made in the Constitution that it should commence on the 4th day of March and terminate on the 4th day of March at the end of every two years.
AMENDMENT. When a motion or proposition is under consideration, a motion to amend and a motion to amend that amendment shall be in order, and it shall also be in order to offer a further amendment by way of substitute, to which one amendment may be offered, but which shall not be voted on until the original matter is perfected, but either may be withdrawn before amendment or decision is had thereon. Amendments to the title of a bill or resolution shall not be in order until after its passage, and shall be decided without debate.-Rule XIX. (See motions.)
A substitute is only a form of amendment, and when a substitute is agreed to, the original proposition must still be voted on as amended by such substitute.
It is in order to move an amendment to the original bill as well as to the substitute reported therefor before the vote is taken on agreeing to the substitute. But a substitute once agreed to can not be further amended except by special agreement on the part of the House.-Congressional Record, 1, 49, p. 7615.
A bill being before the House by unanimous consent is subject to any amendment which may be proposed under the rulesJournal, 1, 45, p. 223.
It is no ground for refusing to entertain an amendment that the House has previously rejected a substantially similar amendment to another part of the bill. ---Journal, 1, 47, p. 1285.
While a large part of the proposed amendment may be identical with some provision of the bill already stricken out, yet, if, as a whole, it contain matter substantially different from that already voted on, it is not necessarily out of order.-Journal, 2, 18, p. 191.
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.- Manual, p. 157.
Amendments reported from the Committee of the Whole inconsistent, one with the other, must, nevertheless, be severally voted on in the House in the order in which they are reported.—Journal, 2, 52, p. 129.
A Member who is recognized and has the floor has the right, at any time, to offer an amendment.--Record, 1, 49, p. 204. This ruling, of course, applies to proceedings in the House before the previous question is ordered, and when motions of equal or higher privilege than the proposed amendment are not already pending.
In Committee of the Whole, amendments are not in order pending general debate, or before the reading of the bill by paragraphs has begun.
Pending consideration in Committee of the Whole of an ap. propriation bill by paragraphs for amendment, but before the reading of all the paragraphs has been completed, an amendment striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting a substitute was proposed and debated. Held, that, no further amendment being proposed to the text of the bill, it was in order to vote on the substitute without reading the remaining paragraphs.-Congressional Record, 2, 49, p. 1059.
A motion to amend can not be modified after the previous question is seconded.—Journal, 1, 28, p. 811.
If a Member yields the floor to another to offer an amendment (as he may do), the Member yieldingéloses his right to reoccupy it.—Journal 1, 26, p. 248.
A motion to strike out and insert is indivisible, but a motion to strike out being lost shall neither preclude amendment nor motion to strike out and insert; and no motion or proposition on a subject different from that under consideration shall be admitted under color of amendment.—Rule: XVI, clause 7.
An amendment by way of substitute for a pending bill can not be itself amended by substituting therefor the original bill.—Record, 2, 50, p. 984.
A motion to cominit under clause 1, Rule XVII, with or without instructions, is subject to amendment under Rule XIX, unless precluded by ordering the previous question on the motion to commit.-Journal, 1, 48, p. 1430.
A bill can not be amended on the first reading.–Manual, p. 137. It has become the settled practice of the House not to receive an amendment to a blouse bill except when the question is on its engrossment, nor to a Senate bill except when the question is on ordering it to a third reading.
If the motion to amend is pending when a demand for the previous question is made, should the previous question be ordered, the vote is not immediately taken on the main question, but must be first taken on the amendment. (See Prerious Question.)
An amendment may be moved to an amendment, but it is not admitted in another degree.- Manual, p. 153.
It is the well settled practice of the House to permitas pending, at the same time with such amendment to the amendment, an amendment in the nature of a substitute for part or the whole of the original text, and an amendment to that amendment.-Journal, 1, 31, pp. 1074, 1075. It was decided in the 9th Congress that if the motion to amend the original matter was first submitted, it was not then in order to submit an amendment in the nature of a substitute-Journal, 1, 9, p.794– but it was subsequently decided otherwise-Journal, 1, 28, p. 807—and the practice since has been in accordance with the latter decision. So that, notwithstanding the pendency of a motion to amend an amendment to the original matter, a motion to amend, in the nature of a substitute, and a motion to amend that amendment, were received, but could not be'voted on un. til the original matter was perfected.
This practice is now formulated in Rule XIX, as follows:
“When a motion or proposition is under consideration, a motion to amend and a motion to amend that amendment shall be in order, and it shall also be in order to offer a further amendment by way of substitute, to which one amendment may be offered, but which shall not be voted on until the original matter is perfected, but either may be withdrawn before amendment or decision is had thereon.”
An amendment of the House to a Senate amendment is only in the first degree; for, as to the Senate, the first amendment with which they passed the bill is a part of its text; it is the only text they have agreed to.—Manual, p. 175. (See amendments between the Houses.)
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. If it be received, it can not be amended afterward in the same stage, because the House has, on a vote, agreed to it in that form.—Janual, p. 158. But an amendment which has been inserted may be added to.—Journal, 1, 19, p. 794.
Although it is not in order to strike out by itself what has been inserted, it may be moved to strike out a portion of the original paragraph, comprehending what has been inserted, provided the coherence to be struck out be so substantial as to make this effectively a different proposition.- Manual, p. 159.
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.- Manual, p. 158.
The text of an amendment which has been agreed to is not further amendable.—Record, 1, 52, pp. 4923, 4927; which decision was on appeal affirmed by the committee, ayes, 95; noes, 33; p. 4928.
Where a committee desires to report a substitute for a bill or a number of bills, the most convenient practice is to report the original bill adversely, and in lieu thereof a new bill (not a substitute as it is sometimes termed), which new bill is placed on the calendar, and the original bill or bills are ordered to lie on the table. This method prevents confusion in the consideration of the measure reported favorably to the House.
After a proposition is amended it can not be withdrawn.Rule XVI, clause 2. (Nor after the previous question is ordered.) It may, however, be withdrawn while the House is dividing on a demand for the previous question.—Journal, 2, 29, p. 241.
It is not in order, except by unanimous consent, to withdraw an amendinent proposed to a bill and pending when the previous question is ordered or becomes operative by virtue of a previous order of the House.-Congressional Record, 1, 51, p. 4061.
Amendments reported from committees to the several parts of a bill are considered as pending when the bill comes up for consideration regardless of the restrictions prescribed in Rule XIX, they being in fact a part of the proposition reported.
An amendment proposing to ingraft a general provision of law upon a private bill is against order-Journal, 1, 31, p.781; 1, 52, p. 312—or having the effect of converting a private into a public bill (or vice versa).—Journal, 1, 48, pp. 761, 762. It is also out of order to ingraft upon a bill for the relief of one individual a provision for the relief of another.—Journal, 2, 32, p. 111.
A simple resolution of the House can not be amended so as to be converted into a Joint Resolution.—Journal, 1, 32, p. 679.
It is not in order to move to consider a Senate bill in lieu of - a House bill.—Journal, 2, 52, p. 52. But a motion to substitute the text of a Senate bill as an amendment to the House bill is in order.
On an amendment being moved, a Member who has spoken to the main question may speak again to the amendment.Manual, p. 157.