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. 998||3/1/17||Democrats’ Motion to Recommit would add an exemption to the underlying bill for any rules pertaining to laws governing potential conflicts of interest of an employee or officer of the executive branch, financial disclosures of an employee or officer of the executive branch, or bribery.||190-235|
|H.R. 7||1/24/17||Democrats’ Motion to Recommit would prohibit the underlying bill from permitting any health plan to charge women higher premiums than men for health coverage.||187-233|
|H.R. 238||1/12/17||Democrats’ Motion to Recommit would prohibit the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from considering the swaps regulatory requirements of a foreign jurisdiction as comparable to United States swaps requirements, if the Director of National Intelligence has found that foreign jurisdiction engaged in cyber-attacks targeting any election in the United States.||190-235|
|H.R. 78||1/12/17||Democrats’ Motion to Recommit would require the Securities Exchange Commission to take into account in its cost-benefit analysis of a proposed regulation the incentives market participants may potentially have to relocate their operations outside of the United States.||195-232|
|H.R. 5||1/11/17||Democrats’ Motion to Recommit would add an exemption to the underlying bill for any rules that reduce prescription drugs costs for seniors covered under Medicare Part D.||190-233|
|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|
|1/3/17||Democrats’ Motion to Recommit would commit the Republican Rules Package for the 115th Congress to a select committee composed of the Majority Leader and Minority Leader with instructions to report it back to the House with an amendment. The amendment would strike the language that modifies House Rules regarding conduct considered disorderly or disruptive during legislative proceedings. These changes are unprecedented in the House of Representatives and are clearly being enacted in response to the Democrats’ 26-hour sit-in on the House Floor to demand action on bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation. Instead of taking action to address the epidemic of gun violence in this country, House Republicans in a potentially unconstitutional way are silencing democratically elected Members of Congress and preventing them from expressing the views and wishes of their constituents.||193-236|