Suspend the Rules / Suspension of the Rules (CongressionalGlossary.com)

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Suspend the Rules / Suspension of the Rules

Skyfari at Bronx Zoo, by John Morton

Skyfari at Bronx Zoo, by John Morton

This procedure, for largely noncontroversial measures, accounts for more than half of all measures considered by the House. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of each week, and during the last six days of a session, the Speaker may recognize members to move to “suspend the rules and pass” a particular measure or conference report. Suspension measures can also be considered on other days by unanimous consent or pursuant to provisions of a special rule. A measure traditionally will not be considered under the suspension procedure if it was controversial in committee.

Debate on a motion to suspend the rules is limited to forty minutes, with twenty minutes controlled by a proponent and twenty minutes controlled by an opponent, regardless of party affiliation. In practice, a majority floor manager controls twenty minutes and a minority floor manager controls the other twenty minutes. Measures considered under this process are not subject to floor amendment, although the motion to suspend may incorporate an amendment.

Often a time saving procedure for passing bills in the House. The wording of the motion, which may be recognized by the Speaker, is, “I move to suspend the rules and pass bill . . . .” A favorable vote by two-thirds of those present is required for passage. Debate is limited to 40 minutes, and no amendments from the floor are permitted. If a two-thirds favorable vote is not attained, the bill may be considered later under regular procedures.

Also see § 6.80 House Floor: Methods of Consideration, in Congressional Deskbook.

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