115th Congress Motions to Recommit
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:
April 18, 2013, Speaker pro temp Kevin Yoder (R-KS) May 18, 2012, Speaker pro temp Judy Biggert (R-IL) May 16, 2012, Speaker pro temp Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) May 10, 2012, Speaker pro temp Allen West (R-FL) May 10, 2012, Speaker pro temp Steve Womack (R-AR)
|Bill||Date||Motion to Recommit (MTR)||Text||Vote|
|H.R. 26||1/5/17||Democrats’ Motion to Recommit would add an exemption to the underlying bill for any rules that prohibit an insurance issuer from eliminating, weakening, or reducing health coverage benefits for dependents under the age of 26.||190-235|
|H.R. 21||1/4/17||Democrats’ Motion to Recommit would add an exemption to the underlying bill for rules that prohibit health insurance issuers from discriminating against individuals based on gender or preexisting conditions, or that prohibit higher premiums or out-of-pocket costs for seniors for prescription drugs covered under Medicare Part D.||183-236|