Table a Bill / Motion to Table (

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Table a Bill / Motion to Table


Diagramming how a bill becomes a law in the U.S.


Table a Bill: Motions to table, or to “lay on the table,” are used to block or kill amendments or other parliamentary questions. When approved, a tabling motion is considered the final disposition of that issue. One of the most widely used parliamentary procedures, the motion to table is not debatable, and adoption requires a simple majority vote.

In the Senate, however, different language is sometimes used. The motion may be worded to let a bill “lie on the table,” perhaps for subsequent “picking up.” This motion is more flexible, keeping the bill pending for later action, if desired. Tabling motions on amendments are effective debate-ending devices in the Senate.


Senator Lee on the motion to table the Due Process Guarantee Act amendment


Motion to Table: A senator may move to table any pending question. The motion is not debatable, and agreement to the motion is equivalent to defeating the question tabled. The motion is used to dispose quickly of questions the Senate does not wish to consider further.

Also see Cloture; § 6.220, Senate Amendment Procedure, in Congressional Deskbook.







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