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Novice Karate Group (ages 8 & up)

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Greyson Garcia
Greyson Garcia

Joe Abercrombie The First Law Epub 139


Rules, precedents, and practices govern voting in the House and the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union (hereafter, the Committee of the Whole). Largely, voting procedures in the House and the Committee of the Whole have evolved to become similar since the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 (LRA).1 The first purpose of this report is to discuss the two momentous changes in record voting procedures that the House included in the LRA and to analyze the evolution of rules, precedents, and practices on record voting procedures since that time.




Joe Abercrombie The First Law Epub 139



[The Speaker]...shall put questions in this form, to wit: "As many as are in favor (as the question may be), say Aye;" and after the affirmative voice is expressed, "As many as are opposed, say No;" if he doubts, or a division is called for, the House shall divide; those in the affirmative of the question shall first rise from their seats, and then those in the negative; if he still doubts, or a count is required by at least one-fifth of a quorum, he shall name one from each side of the question to tell the Members in the affirmative and negative; which being reported, he shall rise and state the decision.8


Republican Representative McClory and bipartisan proponents argued for the efficiency that an electronic voting system would bring to the House: an oral roll-call vote typically consumed more than 30 minutes, while a vote using an automated system was anticipated to require half that much time. Advocates also noted that oral roll calls consumed too much time as the House work load increased, and that changes in the LRA could further increase the number of roll-call votes. Some Members, having served in state legislatures, offered their experiences with automated systems as testament to the efficiency to be gained.14 One Member recalled an investigation of "ghost voting" the previous year and the recommendation from the Standards of Official Conduct Committee for a new voting system.15 No one spoke against automated voting during debate on the McClory amendment.


During the Rules Committee's markup of H.R. 17654, Democratic Representative Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr. proposed an amendment to allow "recorded teller votes," or "tellers with clerks," in the Committee of the Whole. It failed on a 6-6 vote.27 On July 27, 1970, Representatives O'Neill and Charles S. Gubser, a leading Republican proponent of allowing more recorded votes, offered a floor amendment to H.R. 17654 to add the following language to Rule I, cl. 5:


The Speaker or chairman of the Committee of the Whole first puts a question to a voice vote. A Member on occasion may demand a division vote following a voice vote. Most often, however, a Member might seek a record vote on a question, demanding the yeas-and-nays in the House or a recorded vote in the House or the Committee of the Whole. The forms of voting and the methods for obtaining a vote are described in Appendix B.


Voice Vote Precedes Record Vote . The Speaker inserted in the Congressional Record in the 102nd Congress (1991-1993) a statement that he was "in error" in ordering the yeas and nays without first putting the question by voice vote on two roll-call votes. The Speaker indicated that the House, however, had implicitly granted unanimous consent for the vote to be taken by the yeas and nays.46


Automatic Vote on Final Passage . A vote on final passage of certain legislation was made automatic by a rules change adopted for the 104th Congress (1995-1997), organized by the newly elected Republican majority. In adopting its rules, the House amended Rule XV to add a new clause 7, to provide:


This restriction on the authority of the Rules Committee vis-à-vis a motion to recommit with instructions had been long sought by Republican Members.53 Beginning in 1934 with the House's sustaining on appeal a ruling of the Speaker, a special rule reported by the Rules Committee could limit the motion to recommit. The parliamentarian's notes to Rule XI, cl. 4(b) in the 104th Congress House Rules and Manual explained:


Timely Demand for Record Vote . Members seeking recorded votes in the Committee of the Whole made untimely demands on two occasions in the 109th Congress (2005-2007). In the first session, a Member demanded a recorded vote after a chairman announced the result of a voice vote and that the next amendment was now in order. The chairman informed the Member that the request was not timely.75 In the second session, in the words of the parliamentarian's notes in the House Rules and Manual, a "considerable time ha[d] elapsed" between the chairman's announcement of the result of a voice vote and a Member's demand for a recorded vote. The chairman informed the Member that the request was not timely.76


If a major procedural change of the LRA of 1970 was to allow record votes in the Committee of the Whole, thus increasing the opportunities to obtain a record vote, another important change to House rules since then has been to allow votes to be postponed and clustered and to allow voting time on clustered votes after the first 15-minute vote to be reduced to five minutes or even two minutes. In several Congresses, the House added to the list of questions that could be postponed and clustered and on which voting times could be reduced. Such changes benefitted Members by increasing predictability in the House's schedule and by allowing debate on measures to occur at different times or even on different days from votes on those measures. Voting could also take less time away from processing legislation since debate on one or multiple measures would not be interrupted.


The Speaker was first authorized in House rules to postpone and cluster votes in the 93rd Congress (1973-1975) on motions to suspend the rules. The Speaker was first authorized in House rules to reduce voting time to five minutes in the 96th Congress (1979-1981).


(b)(1) On any legislative day (other than during the last six days of a session) on which the Speaker is authorized to entertain motions to suspend the rules and pass bills or resolutions, he may announce to the House, in his discretion, before entertaining the first such motion, that he will postpone further proceedings on each of such motions on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays is ordered or on which the vote is objected to under clause 4 of Rule XV, until all of such motions on that legislative day have been entertained and any debate thereon concluded, with the question having been put and determined on each such motion on which the taking of the vote will not be postponed.


(3) At any time after the vote on the question has been taken on the first motion on which the Speaker has postponed further proceedings under this paragraph, the Speaker may, in his discretion, reduce to not less than five minutes the period of time within which a recorded vote on the question may be taken on any or all of the additional motions on which the Speaker has postponed further proceedings under this paragraph.


(4) If the House adjourns before the question is put and determined on all motions on which further proceedings were postponed under this paragraph, then, on the next following legislative day on which the Speaker is authorized to entertain motions to suspend the rules and pass bills and resolutions, the first order of legislative business after the call of bills and resolutions on the Private Calendar as provided in clause 6 or Rule XXIV shall be the disposition of all such motions, previously undisposed of, in the order in which those motions were entertained.77


The questions on which further proceedings were postponed were put de novo ("anew" or "a second time") if objection to the vote was made under Rule XV, cl. 4. After the first vote, a 15-minute vote, and the announcement of the result, the Speaker informed the House:


In the 95th Congress (1977-1979), the House adopted rules to authorize the Speaker in his discretion to postpone and cluster votes on the previous question and adoption of resolutions reported by the Rules Committee. Before consideration of a resolution, the Speaker would announce his intention to postpone further proceedings (for recorded votes) on the resolutions considered that day, and to put the questions in the order in which the resolutions were considered. He was also authorized to reduce to five minutes the duration of votes after the first 15-minute vote. If the House adjourned without completing votes on the resolutions, votes on the resolutions were, subject to several conditions, the first order of legislative business the next day.82 This rules change was not substantively debated.83


In the 96th Congress (1979-1980), the House adopted new rules installing procedures to postpone and cluster votes to pass bills and resolutions and agree to conference reports, including allowing the time for votes in a cluster to be reduced to five minutes after the first vote. Procedures could be invoked at the discretion of the Speaker.84 The addition to Rule I, cl. 5 provided:


(3) At any time after the vote has been taken on the first question on which the Speaker has postponed further proceedings under this paragraph, the Speaker may, in his discretion, reduce to not less than five minutes the period of time within which a rollcall vote by electronic device on the question may be taken without any intervening business on any or all of the additional questions on which the Speaker has postponed further proceedings under this paragraph.


Precedents were established in the 98th Congress (1983-1985) that allowed the Speaker to reschedule, within the limits of the rule, postponed votes from a time previously designated;92 to cluster together both votes to suspend the rules on which votes were postponed and votes on final passage;93 to cluster together and in the order they were considered the previous day both votes to suspend the rules on which votes were postponed and on final passage;94 and to cluster votes from a preceding day following a recorded vote on the current day, but to reduce the time for voting on the first clustered vote to five minutes only by unanimous consent.95


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