What is a Motion to Recommit with Instructions?
The motion to recommit with instructions provides one final chance to amend a bill before it is passed by the full House of Representatives. The Rules of the 112th and 113th Congress provide for a motion to recommit with instructions “forthwith,” meaning the House must immediately vote on the bill, as amended, if the motion to recommit is adopted.
Does a Motion to Recommit with Instructions Kill the Bill?
The answer is no. Under Republican control in the 112th and 113th Congress, the Rules of the House were adopted on January 3, 2013 by a vote of 228-196 (Roll Call #6, First Session). Those Rules state that a motion to recommit with instructions is NOT sent back to committee. If the recommit is adopted, the bill is voted on by the full House immediately.
In the official Rules of the House of Representatives in the 113th Congress, Rule XIX 2(b)(2) states: “A motion to recommit a bill or joint resolution may include instructions only in the form of a direction to report an amendment or amendments back to the House forthwith.”
In the House Rules and Manual, the Parliamentarians, who are the official referees of all legislative activity on the House floor, state clearly on page 806: “If the House adopts a motion to recommit with instructions that the committee report ‘forthwith,’ the chair reports at once without awaiting action by the committee, the bill is before the House for immediate consideration …”
The official ruling of the Chair, under a Republican Speaker pro temp, confirmed this interpretation on four separate occasions in the 112th and on another occasion during the 113th Congress, which can be viewed at the links below:
|Bill||Date||Motion to Recommit (MTR)||Text||Vote (Y-N)|
|H.R. 45||5/16/13||Motion to Recommit would preserve benefits of the Affordable Care Act for women and children by excluding from repeal: (1) elimination of cost sharing for preventive health services, including breast cancer screening, screening for gestational diabetes, and screening for domestic abuse; (2) access to health care coverage for those with preexisting conditions (children and adults); (3) medical loss ratio requirements that ensure consumers receive good value for their premiums; (4) elimination of lifetime and annual limits on benefits; and (5) dependent coverage of adult children until age 26.||190-230|
|H.R. 807||5/9/13||Motion to Recommit would prohibit this bill from going into effect in the event the Treasury is: (1) making payments to foreign bond holders, including those in China, Iran, and the Cayman Islands, before the Deposit Insurance Fund and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund; (2) failing to make payment of a debt obligation to the Social Security and Medicare trust funds; (3) failing to redeem a debt obligation held by a trust fund providing for veterans benefits; or (4) failing to redeem a debt obligation held by an intragovernmental fund with the purpose of assisting Americans during natural disasters.||200-227|
|H.R. 1406||5/8/13||Motion to Recommit would ensure that employees could not be denied the use of compensatory time for the following purposes: (1) to attend medical appointments; (2) to care for a sick family member or if the employee is sick; or (3) to attend counseling or rehabilitation appointments for injuries sustained by the employee as a member of the Armed Forces. The motion would also prohibit employers who have been found to violate the Equal Pay Act of 1963 from replacing monetary overtime with compensatory time.||200-227|
|H.R. 527||4/26/13||Motion to Recommit would prohibit the export of helium from the Federal Helium Reserve to Iran, North Korea, or Syria, any person in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, or to any one that the President believes is likely to transfer or divert it to Iran, North Korea, or Syria.||186-211|
|H.R. 624||4/18/13||Motion to Recommit would prohibit employers, prospective employers, or the Federal Government from requiring the disclosure of social networking or personal account passwords by an employee or job applicant without a court order. The Motion would also prohibit the Federal Government from establishing a mechanism by which it could control citizen’s access to the Internet with a national firewall similar to the “Great Internet Firewall of China.” Lastly, the Motion would make changes to the McCaul amendment, adding a section that requires reporting of information on the number of Americans who have been forced to disclose passwords and had information released to the Federal government or obtained in connection with a cybersecurity breach.||189-224|
|H.R. 1120||4/12/2013||Motion to Recommit would exempt former members of the Armed Forces, any attempt by a U.S. employer to outsource jobs, any violation by an employer that is a foreign-owned firm against the rights of American workers, workers seeking good faith bargaining to address discrimination or issues related to health and safety, and any employer found to have violated child labor laws in the 5 years prior to the case being brought to the NLRB are exempt from the requirements of the underlying bill.||197-229|
|H.R. 678||4/10/13||Motion to Recommit would require that, when practicable, all materials used for conduit hydropower generation be manufactured in the United States.||194-226|
|H.R. 803||3/15/13||Motion to Recommit ensures that nothing in the underlying bill repeals, denies, or weakens the wages, employment protections, employment or training opportunities for seniors, disabled veterans, women in nontraditional occupations, youth, or people with disabilities. The Motion would also raise the minimum wage, in increments over the course of two years, to $10.10 and increase the minimum wage for tipped employees to 70% of the minimum wage.||184-233|
|H.R. 890||3/13/13||Motion to Recommit ensures that nothing in the underlying bill prohibits or restricts States that receive federal TANF funding from providing assistance, job opportunities, or education training to (1) unemployed parents, including veterans, women, and victims of natural disasters and (2) grandparents who are raising the children of current or deceased members of the US Armed Forces.||199-230|
|H.R. 933||3/6/13||Motion to Recommit would strike the section from the bill that affirms sequestration's cuts will apply to all funding in the bill.||188-231|
|H.R. 444||2/6/13||Motion to Recommit replaces the GOP's budget gimmick with assertion of facts: Experts agree on balanced, bipartisan approach to deficit reduction, sequester imposes deep and mindless cuts, Congress should replace sequester with balanced plan.||194-229|
|H.R. 325||1/23/13||Motion to Recommit would add condition to GOP's "No Budget, No Pay Act" that any budget resolution does not reduce benefits for veterans or slash benefits for seniors (whether by ending Medicare guarantee, cutting Medicaid, cutting nursing home care, or privatizing Social Security).||151-277|
|H.Res.5||1/3/13||Motion to Commit would amend the Help America Vote Act to require every state to allow at least 15 days of early voting and ensure no voter is forced to wait in line more than an hour to vote. It's called a "Motion to Commit" because Congress has not yet formed its committees.||196-228|