Motion to Recommit / Recommit to Committee / Table / Lay on the Table (

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Motion to Recommit / Recommit to Committee / Table / Lay on the Table

Rep. Cartwright Motion to Recommit

Recommit: To send a measure back to the committee that reported it. A motion to recommit without instructions kills a measure; a motion to recommit with instructions proposes to amend a measure. In the House, the motion may be offered just before vote on final passage. In the Senate, the motion may be offered at any time before a measure’s passage.

In the House, a motion to recommit a measure can instruct a committee to report the measure back to the House with a specific amendment. The right to offer a motion to recommit is the prerogative of the minority party. A motion to recommit is not in order when the House is sitting as the Committee of the Whole.

After the third reading of a bill, but before the vote on final passage, a motion to recommit is in order. (The third reading is the required reading to a chamber of a measure by title only before the vote on passage.) The motion is traditionally the prerogative of a minority member to offer, providing the minority with one last opportunity to kill or amend a measure.

A member stands and says, “Mr. Speaker, I have a motion to recommit at the desk.” The Speaker then asks if the member is opposed to the measure. That member signifies that he is opposed to the measure “in its current form.” There are two types of motions to recommit. Adoption of a motion to recommit without instructions kills a measure. If such a motion is offered, it is not debatable.

A motion to recommit with instructions attempts to amend a measure. The motion normally instructs that the measure be referred to the reporting committee and that the committee “report the bill back to the House forthwith with the following amendment….” A motion to recommit with instructions is debatable for ten minutes, equally divided between the proponent and an opponent. The time is not controlled, meaning members may not yield or reserve time. At the request of the majority floor manager, the ten minutes can be extended to one hour, equally divided and controlled.

If a motion to recommit with instructions is agreed to, the measure is immediately reported back to the House with the amendment, the amendment is voted on, and the House then votes on final passage of the bill. The vote on final passage is then taken. When the results of the vote on final passage are announced, a pro forma motion to reconsider is made and laid on the table, i.e., postponed indefinitely. There is rarely a vote on these motions. To table the motion to reconsider prevents a measure from being reconsidered at a later date.


The Correct Way To Lay The Dinner Table


Table / Lay on the Table: Prevents further consideration of a measure, amendment, or motion, thus killing it.

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