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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Amendments on the House Floor: Summary of Major Restrictions

Judy Schneider
Specialist on the Congress

The opportunities for Representatives to offer floor amendments to a bill or resolution depends on the procedures by which the House considers the measure.

In summary:

• After general debate on a bill in the Committee of the Whole, Members may offer whatever amendments they choose if (1) those amendments comply with applicable House rules and precedents, some of which are identified below; (2) Members offer their amendments at the appropriate times; and (3) the House has not adopted a special rule that prohibits consideration of some or all amendments to the bill. An amendment also can be proposed in a motion to recommit that is offered in the House after the Committee of the Whole completes action on the bill and reports it back to the House.

In the House, under the one-hour rule, an amendment can be offered only by the Member who controls the floor or if that Member yields to a colleague for the purpose of offering an amendment. If the House votes to order the previous question on a bill after no more than one hour of debate, as it usually does, the effect of that vote is to prevent any floor amendments, except for an amendment that may be incorporated into a motion to recommit the bill.

• Under suspension of the rules, no floor amendments are in order. However, the Member offering the suspension motion may include amendments in the motion. If so, that Member moves to suspend the rules and pass the measure as amended. The House cannot vote separately on any such amendments.

Date of Report: September 23, 2013
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number: 98-426
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