Robert's Rules of Order/Article III
- 1 Privileged Motions
- 2 Incidental Motions.
- 3 Subsidiary Motions
- 4 Miscellaneous Motions
- 5 Footnotes
10. To fix the time to which the assembly shall adjournEdit
This motion takes precedence of all others, and is in order even after the assembly has voted to adjourn, provided the Chairman has not announced the result of the vote. If made when another question is before the assembly, it is undebatable [§35]; it can be amended by altering the time. If made when no other question is before the asembly, it stands as any other principal motion, and is debatable.
The Form of this motion is, "When this assembly adjourns, it adjourns to meet at such a time."
This motion (when unqualified) takes precedence of all others, except to "fix the time to which to adjourn," to which it yields. It is not debatable, and cannot be amended, or have any other subsidiary motion [§7] applied to it. If qualified in any way it loses its privileged character, and stands as any other principal motion. The motion to adjourn can be repeated if there has been any intervening business, though it be simply progress in debate [§26]. When a committee is through with any business referred to it, and prepared to report, instead of adjourning, a motion should be made "to rise," which motion, in committee, has the same privileges as to adjourn in the assembly [§32].
- (a) When it does not close the session, the business interrupted by the
adjournment is the first in order after the reading of the minutes at the next meeting, and is treated the same as if there had been no adjournment; an adjourned meeting being legally the continuation of the meeting of which it is an adjournment.
- (b) When it closes a session in an assembly which has more than one
regular session each year, then the unfinished business is taken up at the next succeeding session previous to new business, and treated the same as if there had been no adjournment (see Sec. 44[§44], for its place in the order of business). Provided, that, in a body elected for a definite time (as a board of directors elected for one year), unfinished business falls to the ground with the expiration of the term for which the board or any portion of them were elected.
- (c) When the adjournment closes a session in an assembly which does not
meet more frequently than once a year, or when the assembly is an elective body, and this session ends the term of a portion of the members, the adjournment shall put an end to all business unfinished at the close of the session. The business can be introduced at the next session, the same as if it had never been before the assembly.
12. Questions of privilegeEdit
Questions relating to the rights and privileges of the assembly, or any of its members, take precedence of all other questions, except the two preceding, to which they yield. The Previous Question [§20] can be applied to these, as to all other debatable questions.
13. Orders of the dayEdit
A call for the Orders of the Day takes precedence of every other motion, excepting to Reconsider [§27], and the three preceding, to which latter three it yields, and is not debatable, nor can it be amended. It does not require to be seconded.
When one or more subjects have been assigned to a particular day or hour, they become the Orders of the Day for that day or hour, and they cannot be considered before that time, except by a two-thirds vote [§39]. And when that day or hour arrives, if called up, they take precedence of all but the three preceding questions [§10][§11][§12]. Instead of considering them, the assembly may appoint another time for their consideration. If not taken up on the day specified, the order falls to the ground.
When the Orders of the Day are taken up, it is necessary to take up the separate questions in their exact order, the one first assigned to the day or hour, taking precedence of one afterwards assigned to the same day or hour. (A motion to take up a particular part of the Orders of the Day, or a certain question, is not a privileged motion). Any of the subjects, when taken up, instead of being then considered, can be assigned to some other time.
The Form of this question, as put by the Chair when the proper time arrives, or on the call of a member, is, "Shall the Order of the Day be taken up?" or, "Will the assembly now proceed with the Orders of the Day?"
The Effect of an affirmative vote on a call for the Orders of the Day, is to remove the question under consideration from before the assembly, the same as if it had been interrupted by an adjournment [§11].
The Effect of a negative vote is to dispense with the orders merely so far as they interfere with the consideration of the question then before the assembly.
14. Appeal (Questions of Order)Edit
A Question of Order takes precedence of the question giving rise to it, and must be decided by the presiding officer without debate. If a member objects to the decision, he says, "I appeal from the decision of the Chair." If the Appeal is seconded, the Chairman immediately states the question as follows: "Shall the decision of the Chair stand as the judgement of the assembly?" This Appeal yields to Privileged Questions [§9]. It cannot be amended; it cannot be debated when it relates simply to indecorum [§36], or to transgressions of the rules of speaking, or to the priority of business, or if it is made while the previous question [§20] is pending. When debatable, no member is allowed to speak but once, and whether debatable or not, the presiding officer, without leaving the Chair, can state the reasons upon which he bases his decision. The motions to Lie on the Table [§19], or for the Previous Question [§20], can be applied to an Appeal, when it is debatable, and when adopted they affect nothing but the Appeal. The vote on an Appeal may also be reconsidered [§27]. An Appeal is not in order when another Appeal is pending.
It is the duty of the presiding officer to enforce the rules and orders of the assembly, without debate or delay. It is also the right of every member, who notices a breach of a rule to insist upon its enforcement. In such cases he shall rise from his seat, and say, "Mr. Chairman, I rise to a point of order." The speaker should immediately take his seat, and the Chairman requests the member to state his point of order, which he does, and resumes his seat. The Chair decides the point, and then, if no appeal is taken, permits the first member to resume his speech. If the member's remarks are decided to be improper, and any one objects to his continuing his speech, he cannot continue it without a vote of the assembly to that effect. Instead of the method just described, it is usual, when it is simply a case of improper language used in debate, for a member to say, "I call the gentleman to order;" the Chairman decides whether the speaker is in or out of order, and proceeds as before. The Chairman can ask the advice of members when he has to decide questions of order, but the advice must be given sitting, to avoid the appearance of debate; or the Chair, when unable to decide the question, may at once submit it to the assembly. The effect of laying an appeal on the table, is to sustain, at least for the time, the decision of the Chair, and does not carry to the table the question which gave rise to the question of order.
15. Objection to the consideration of a questionEdit
Objection to the Consideration of a Question. An objection can be made to any principal motion [§6], but only when it is first introduced, before it has been debated. It is similar to a question of order [§14], in that it can be made while another member has the floor, and does not require a second; and as the Chairman can call a member to order, so can he put this question if he deems it necessary, upon his own responsibility. It can not be debated [§35] or have any subsidiary motion [§7] applied to it. When a motion is made and any member "objects to its consideration," the Chairman shall immediately put the question, "Will the assembly consider it?" or, "Shall the question be considered" (or discussed)? If decided in the negative by a two-thirds vote [§39], the whole matter is dismissed for that session [§42]; otherwise the discussion continues as if this question had never been made.
The Object of this motion is not to cut off debate (for which other motions are provided, see Sec. 37 [§37]), but to enable the assembly to avoid altogether any question which it may deem irrelevant, unprofitable or contentious.
16. Reading PapersEdit
Where papers are laid before the assembly, every member has a right to have them once read before he can be compelled to vote on them, and whenever a member asks for the reading of any such paper, evidently for information, and not for delay, the Chair should direct it to be read, if no one objects. But a member has not the right to have anything read (excepting stated above) without getting permission from the assembly.
17. Withdrawal of a motionEdit
When a question is before the assembly and the mover wishes to withdraw or modify it, or substitute a different one in its place, if no one objects, the presiding officer grants the permission; if any objection is made, it will be necessary to obtain leave to withdraw, etc., on a motion for that purpose. This motion cannot be debated or amended. When a motion is withdrawn, the effect is the same as if it had never been made.
18. Suspension of the RulesEdit
This motion is not debatable, and cannot be amended, nor can any subsidiary [§7] motion be applied to it, nor a vote on it be reconsidered [§27], nor a motion to suspend the rules for the same purpose be renewed [§26] at the same meeting, though it may be renewed after an adjournment, though the next meeting be held the same day.
The Form of this motion is, to "suspend the rules which interfere with," etc., specifying the object of the suspension.
19. Lie on the tableEdit
This motion takes precedence of all other Subsidiary Questions [§7], and yields to any Privileged [Sec. 9] or Incidental [§8] Question. It is not debatable, and cannot be amended or have any other subsidiary motion [§7] applied to it. It removes the subject from consideration till the assembly vote to take it from the table.
The Form of this motion is, "I move that the question lie on the table," or, "that it be laid on the table," or, "to lay the question on the table." When it is desired to take the question up again, a motion is made, either "to take the question from the table," or "to now consider such and such a question;" which motion is undebatable, and cannot have any subsidiary motion applied to it.
The Object of this motion is to postpone the subject in such a way, that at any time it can be taken up, either at the same or some future meeting, which could not be accomplished by a motion to postpone, either definitely or indefinitely. It is also frequently used to suppress a question [§59], which it does, provided a majority vote can never be obtained to take it from the table during that session [§42].
The Effect of this motion is in general to place on the table everything that adheres to the subject; so that if an amendment be ordered to lie on the table, the subject which it is proposed to amend, goes there with it. The following cases are exceptional: (a) An appeal [§14] being laid on the table, has the effect of sustaining, at least for the time, the decision of the Chair, and does not carry the original subject to the table. (b) So when a motion to reconsider [§27] a question is laid on the table, the original question is left where it was before the reconsideration was moved. (c) An amendment to the minutes being laid on the table does not carry the minutes with it.
Even after the ordering of the Previous Question up to the moment of taking the last vote under it, it is in order to lay upon the table the questions still before the assembly.
20. Previous QuestionEdit
(The Previous Question is a technical name for this motion, conveying a wrong impression of its import, as it has nothing to do with the subject previously under consideration. To demand the previous question is equivalent in effect to moving "That debate now cease, and the assembly immediately proceed to vote on the questions before it," (the exceptions are stated above). The English Previous Question is an entirely different one from ours, and is used for a different purpose. In the English Parliament it is moved by the enemies of a measure, who then vote in the negative, and thus prevent for the day, the consideration of the main question, (which in this country could be accomplished by "objecting to the consideration of the question" [§15], if the objection were sustained). In our Congress, it is moved by the friends of a measure, who vote in the affirmative with a view to cutting off debate and immediately bringing the assembly to a vote on the questions before it. The rules in the two cases are as different as the objects of the motions. It requires only a majority vote for its adoption in the House of Representatives, and is not allowed in the United States Senate.) takes precedence of every debatable question [§35], and yields to Privileged [§9] and Incidental [§8] questions, and to the motion to Lie on the table [§19]. It is not debatable, and cannot be amended or have any other Subsidiary [§7] motion applied to it. It shall require a two-thirds vote for its adoption.
When a member calls for the previous question, and the call is seconded, the presiding officer must immediately put the question: "Shall the main question be now put?" If adopted, the member who introduced the pending measure still has the right to close the debate [§34]; after which the presiding officer, without allowing further discussion, shall put to vote the questions before the assembly, in their order of precedence, till the main question, with all its subsidiary and incidental questions, is disposed of (see the exceptions below). If it fails, the discussion continues as if this motion had not been made.
The previous question can be moved on a pending amendment, and if adopted, debate is closed on the amendment only. After the amendment is voted on, the main question is again open to debate and amendments. In this case the form of the question would be similar to this : "Shall the amendment be now put to the question?"
The Object of this motion is to bring the assembly to a vote on the question before it without further debate. In ordinary assemblies it is rarely expedient to deprive a large minority of the right of debate, and yet two-thirds of the members should have the right to close the debate when they think it best.
It applies to questions of privilege [§12] as well as any other debatable questions. It is allowable for a member to submit a resolution and at the same time move the previous question thereon.
To illustrate the Effect of this motion, suppose it is adopted when we have before the assembly, (a) the main question; (b) an amendment; (c) a motion to commit; (d) a motion to amend the last motion by giving the committee instructions. The previous question being carried, the presiding officer would immediately put the question on the last motion (d); then on the motion to commit, (c); and if this is adopted, of course the subject is referred to the committee and disposed of for the present; but if it fails, the amendment (b) is put, and finally the main question.
Exceptions: If the Previous Question is carried while a motion to Postpone is pending, its effect is only to bring the assembly to a vote on that motion; if it is voted not to postpone, the subject is again open for debate. So if an Appeal [§14] or a motion to Reconsider [§27] is pending when the Previous Question is ordered, it applies only to them and is exhausted by the vote on them.
An affirmative vote on the motion to Commit [§22] exhausts the Previous Question, and if the vote is reconsidered, it is divested of the Previous Question.
21. Postpone to a certain dayEdit
This motion takes precedence of a motion to Commit, or Amend, or Indefinitely Postpone, and yields to any Privileged [§9] or Incidental [§8] question, and to the motion to Lie on the Table, or for the Previous Question. It can be amended by altering the time, and the Previous Question can be applied to it without affecting any other motions pending. It allows of very limited debate [§35], and that must not go into the merits of the subject matter any further than is necessary to enable the assembly to judge the propriety of the postponement.
The Effect of this motion is to postpone the entire subject to the time specified, until which time it cannot be taken up except by a two-thirds vote [§13]. When that time arrives it is entitled to be taken up in preference to every thing except Privileged questions. Where several questions are postponed to different times and are not reached then, they shall be considered in the order of the times to which they were postponed. It is not in order to postpone to a time beyond that session [§42] of the assembly, except to the day of the next session when it comes up with the unfinished business, and consequently takes precedence of new business [§44]. If it is desired to hold an adjourned meeting to consider a special subject, the time to which the assembly shall adjourn [§10] should be first fixed before making the motion to postpone the subject to that day.
22. Commit (or Re-Commit)Edit
To Commit (or Recommit as it is called when the subject has been previously committed). This motion takes precedence of the motions to Amend or Indefinitely Postpone, and yields to any Privileged [§9] or Incidental [§8] Question, and also to the motion to Lie on the Table, or for the Previous Question, or to Postpone to a certain day. It can be amended by altering the committee, or giving it instructions. It is debatable, and opens to debate [§35] the merits of the question it is proposed to commit.
The Form of this motion is "to refer the subject to a committee." When different committees are proposed they should he voted in the following order: (1) Committee the whole [§32], (2) a standing committee, and (3) a special (or select) committee. The number of a committee is usually decided without the formality of a motion, as in filling blanks [§25]: the Chairman asks "of how many shall the committee consist?" and a question is then put upon each number suggested, beginning with the largest. The number and kind of the committee need not be decided till after it has been voted to refer the subject to a committee. If the committee is a select one, and the motion does not include the method of appointing it, and there is no standing rule on the subject, the Chairman inquires how the committee shall be appointed, and this is usually decided informally. Sometimes the Chair "appoints," in which case he names the members of the committee and no vote is taken upon them; or the committee is "nominated" either by the Chair or members of the assembly (no member nominating more than one except by general consent), and then they are all voted upon together, except where more nominations are made than the number of the committee, when they shall be voted upon singly.
Where a committee is one for action (a committee of arrangements for holding a public meeting, for example), it should generally be small, and no one placed upon it who is not favorable to the proposed action; and if any such should be appointed he should ask to be excused. But when the committee is for deliberation or investigation, it is of the utmost importance that all parties be represented on it, so that in committee the fullest discussion may take place, and thus diminish the chances of unpleasant debates in the assembly.
In ordinary assemblies, by judicious appointment of committees, debates upon delicate and troublesome questions can be mostly confined to the committees, which will contain the representative members of all parties. (See Reports of Committees, Sec. 29. [§29])
This motion takes precedence of nothing but the question which it proposed to amend, and yields to any Privileged [§9], Incidental [§8] or Subsidiary [§9] Question, except to Indefinitely Postpone. It can be amended itself, but this "amendment of an amendment" cannot be amended. An Amendment may be inconsistent with one already adopted, or may directly conflict with the spirit of the original motion, but it must have a direct bearing upon the subject of that motion. To illustrate: a motion for a vote of thanks could be amended by substituting for "thanks" the word "censure;" or one condemning certain customs could be amended by adding other customs.
An Amendment may be in any of the following forms: (a) to "add or insert" certain words or paragraphs; (b) to "strike out" certain words or paragraphs, the question, however, being stated by the Chair thus: "Shall these words (or paragraphs) stand as a part of the resolution?" and if this is adopted (that is, the motion to "strike out," fails) it does not preclude either amendment or a motion to "strike out and insert;" (c) "to strike certain words and insert others," which motion is indivisible, and if lost does not preclude another motion to strike out the same words and insert different ones; (d) to "substitute" another motion on the same subject for the one pending; (e) to "divide the question" into two or more questions, as the mover specifies, so as to get a separate vote on any particular point or points [§4].
If a paragraph is inserted it should be perfected by its friends previous to voting on it, as when once inserted it cannot be struck out or amended except by adding to it. The same is true in regard to words to be inserted in a resolution, as when once inserted they cannot be struck out, except by a motion to strike out the paragraph, or such a portion of it as shall make the question an entirely different one from that of inserting the particular words. The principle involved is that when the assembly has voted that certain words shall form a part of a resolution, it is not in order to make another motion which involves exactly the same question as the one they have decided. The only way to bring it up again is to move a Reconsideration [§27] of the vote by which the words were inserted.
In stating the question on an Amendment the Chairman should read (1) the passage to be amended; (2) the words to be struck out, if any; (3) the words to be inserted, if any; and (4) the whole passage as it will stand if the amendment is adopted. For amending reports of committees, and propositions containing several paragraphs, see Sec. 44. [§44]
The numbers prefixed to paragraphs are only marginal indications, and should be corrected, if necessary, by the clerk, without any motion to amend.
The following motions cannot be amended:
- To Adjourn (when unqualified) [§11]
- For the Orders of the Day [§12]
- All Incidental Questions [§8]
- To Lie on the Table [§19]
- For the Previous Question [§20]
- An Amendment of an Amendment [§23]
- To Postpone Indefinitely [§24]
- Reconsider [§27]
An Amendment to Rules of Order, By-Laws or a Constitution shall require previous notice and a two-thirds vote for its adoption [§45].
24. To Postpone IndefinitelyEdit
This motion takes precedence of nothing except the Principal Question [§6], and yields to any Privileged [§9], Incidental [§8] or Subsidiary [§7] Motion, except to Amend. It cannot be amended; it opens to debate the entire question which it is proposed to postpone. Its effect is to entirely remove the question from before the assembly for that session [§42].
The Previous Question [§20], if ordered when this motion is pending, applies only to it without affecting the main question.
25. Filling blanks, and NominationsEdit
In filling blanks the largest sum and the longest time proposed shall be first put to the question. Sometimes the most convenient way of amending a resolution is to create a blank by moving to strike out a certain number or time. It is customary for any number of members to propose numbers to fill a blank without the formality of a motion, these different propositions not being regarded in the light of amendments.
Nominations are treated in a similar manner, so that the second nomination, instead of being an amendment to the first, is an independent motion, which, if the first fails, is to be immediately voted upon. Any number of nominations can be made, the Chairman announcing each name as he hears it, and they should be voted upon in the order announced, until one receives a vote sufficient for an election.
26. Renewal of a motionEdit
When any Principal Question [§6] or Amendment has been once acted upon by the assembly, it cannot be taken up again at the same session [§42] except by a motion to Reconsider [§27]. The motion to Adjourn can be renewed if there has been progress in debate, or any business transacted. As a general rule the introduction of any motion that alters the state of affairs makes it admissible to renew any Privileged or Incidental motion (excepting Suspension of the Rules as provided in Sec. 18), or Subsidiary motion (excepting an amendment), as in such a case the real question before the assembly is a different one.
To illustrate: a motion that a question lie on the table having failed, suppose afterwards it be moved to refer the matter to a committee, it is now in order to move again that the subject lie on the table; but such a motion would not be in order, if it were not made till after the failure of the motion to commit, as the question then resumes its previous condition.
When a subject has been referred to a committee which reports at the same meeting, the matter stands before the assembly as if it had been introduced for the first time. A motion which has been withdrawn has not been acted upon, and therefore can be renewed.
It is in order at any time, even when another member has the floor, or while the assembly is voting on the motion to Adjourn, during the day on which a motion has been acted upon, to move to "Reconsider the vote" and have such motion "entered on the record," but it cannot be considered while another question is before the assembly. It must be made, excepting when the vote is by ballot, by a member who voted with the prevailing side; for instance, in case a motion fails to pass for lack of a two-thirds vote, a reconsideration must be moved by one who voted against the motion.
A motion to reconsider the vote on a Subsidiary [§7] motion takes precedence of the main question. It yields to Privileged [§9] questions (except for the Orders of the Day), and Incidental [§8] questions.
This motion can be applied to every question, except to Adjourn and to Suspend the Rules. It is debatable or not, just as the question to be reconsidered is debatable or undebatable [§35]; when debatable, it opens up for discussion the entire subject to be reconsidered, and can have the Previous question [§20] applied to it without affecting any thing but the motion to reconsider. It can be laid on the table [§19], and in such cases the last motion cannot be reconsidered; it is quite common and allowable to combine these two motions (though they must be voted on separately); in this case, the reconsideration like any other question, can be taken from the table, but possesses no privilege. The motion to reconsider being laid on the table does not carry with it the pending measure. If an amendment to a motion has been either adopted or rejected, and then a vote taken on the motion as amended, it is not in order to reconsider the vote on the amendment until after the vote on the original motion has been reconsidered. If anything which the assembly cannot reverse, has been done as the result a vote, then that vote cannot be reconsidered.
The Effect of making this motion is to suspend all action that the original motion would have required until the reconsideration is acted upon; but if it is not called up, its effect terminates with the session [§42], provided, that in an assembly having regular meetings as often as monthly, if no adjourned meeting upon another day is held of the one at which the reconsideration was moved, its effect shall not terminate till the close of the next succeeding session. (See note at end of this section.) While this motion is so highly privileged as far as relates to having it entered on the minutes, yet the reconsideration of another question cannot be made to interfere with the discussion of a question before the assembly, but as soon as that subject is disposed of, the reconsideration, if called up, takes precedence of every thing except the motions to adjourn, and to fix the time to which to adjourn. As long as its effect lasts (as shown above), any one can call up the motion to reconsider and have it acted upon--excepting that when its effect extends beyond the meeting at which the motion was made, no one but the mover can call it up at that meeting. But the reconsideration of an Incidental [§8] or Subsidiary [§7] motion shall be immediately acted upon, as otherwise it would prevent action on the main question.
The Effect of the adoption of this motion is to place before the assembly the original question in the exact position it occupied before it was voted upon; consequently no one can debate the question reconsidered who had previously exhausted his right of debate [§34] on that question; his only resource is to discuss the question while the motion to reconsider is before the assembly.
When a vote taken under the operation of the previous question [§20] is reconsidered, the question is then divested of the previous question, and is open to debate and amendment, provided the previous question had been exhausted (see latter part of Sec. 20 [§20]) by votes taken on all the questions covered by it, before the motion to reconsider was made.
A reconsideration requires only a majority vote, regardless of the vote necessary to adopt the motion reconsidered. (For reconsidering in committee see Sec. 28 [§28]).
Note On Reconsider—In the English Parliament a vote once taken cannot be reconsidered, but in our Congress it is allowed to move a reconsideration of the vote on the same or succeeding day, and after the close of the last day for making the motion, any one can call up the motion to reconsider, so that this motion cannot delay action more than two days, and the effect of the motion, if not acted upon, terminates with the session. There seems to be no reason or good precedent for permitting merely two persons, by moving a reconsideration, to suspend for any length of time all action under resolutions adopted by the assembly, and yet where the delay is very short the advantages of reconsideration overbalance the evils.
Where a permanent society has meetings weekly or monthly, and usually only a small proportion of the society is present, it seems best to allow a reconsideration to hold over to another meeting, so that the society may have notice of what action is about to be taken. To prevent the motion being used to defeat a measure that cannot be deferred till the next regular meeting, it is provided that in case the society adjourn, to meet the next day for instance, then the reconsideration will not hold over beyond that session; this allows sufficient delay to notify the society, while, if the question is one requiring immediate action, the delay cannot extend beyond the day to which they adjourn. Where the meetings are only quarterly or annual, the society should be properly represented at each meeting, and their best interests are subserved by following the practice of Congress, and letting the effect of the reconsideration terminate with the session.
- In ordinary societies it is better to follow the common parliamentary law, and permit this question to be introduced as a principal question, when it can be debated and suppressed [§58][§59] like other questions. In Congress, it is never debatable, and has entirely superseded the unprivileged and inferior motion to "adjourn to a particular time."
- "After six days from the commencement of a second or subsequent session of any Congress, all bills, resolutions and reports which originated in the House, and at the close of the next preceding session remained undetermined, shall be resumed, and acted on in the same manner as if an adjournment had not taken place." Rule 136, H. R. Any ordinary society that meets as seldom as once each year, is apt to be composed of as different membership at its successive meetings, as any two successive Congresses, and only trouble would result from allowing unfinished business to hold over to the next yearly meeting.
- The word Assembly can be replaced by Society, Convention, Board, etc., according to the name of the organization.
- In Congress, the introduction of such questions could be temporarily prevented by a majority vote under the 41st Rule of the House of Representatives, which is as follows: "Where any motion or proposition is made, the question, 'Will the House now consider it?' shall not be put unless it is demanded by some member, or is deemed necessary by the Speaker." The English use the "Previous Question," for a similar purpose (see note to Sec. 20 [§20]). The question of consideration is seldom raised in Congress, but in assemblies with very short sessions, where but few questions can or should be considered, it seems a necessity that two-thirds of the assembly should be able to instantly throw out a question they do not wish to consider. The more common form, in ordinary societies, of putting this question, is, "Shall the question be discussed?" The form to which preference is given in the rule conforms more to the Congressional one, and is less liable to be misunderstood.
- In Congress, a motion may be withdrawn by the mover, before a decision or amendment (Rule 40, H. R.). Nothing would be gained in ordinary societies by varying from the common law as stated above.
- In Congress, it cannot be renewed the same day. The rules of the assembly shall not be suspended except for a definite purpose, and by a two-thirds vote.
- In Congress a motion cannot be postponed to the next session, but it is customary in ordinary societies.
- In Congress any one can move a reconsideration, excepting where the vote is taken by yeas and nays [§38], when the rule above applies. The motion can be made on the same or succeeding day.
- It is not the practice to reconsider an affirmative vote on the motion to lie on the table, as the same result can be more easily reached by the motion to take from the table. For a similar reason, an affirmative vote on the motion to take from the table cannot be reconsidered.
- In Congress this is a common method used by the friends of a measure to prevent its reconsideration.
- In Congress the effect always terminates with the session, and it cannot be called up by any one but the mover, until the expiration of the time during which it is in order to move a reconsideration.