Imagens das páginas

when the paragraphs have, on distinct questions, been agreed to seriatim,-5 Grey, 366; 6 Grey, 368; & Grey, 47, 104, 360; 1 Torbuck's deb. 125; 3 Hats. 348,-no question needs be put on the whole report 5 Grey, 381.

On taking up a bill reported with amendments, the amendments only are read by the clerk. The Speaker then reads the first, and puts it to the question, and so on till the whole are adopted or rejected, before any other amendment be admitted, except it be an amendment to an amendment.-Elsynge's Mem. 23. When through the amendments of the committee, the Speaker pauses, and gives time for amendments to be proposed in the House to the body of the bill; as he does also if it has been reported without amendments; putting no question but on amendments proposed; and when through the whole, he puts the question, Whether the bill shall be read the third time?



IF, on the motion and question, the bill be not committed, or if no proposition for commitment be made, then the proceedings in the Senate of the United States and in Parliament are totally different. The former shall be first stated.

The 28th rule of the Senate says, "All bills, on a second reading, shall first be considered by the Senate in the same manner as if the Senate were in a committee of the whole, before they shall be taken up and proceeded on by the Senate agreeably to the standing rules, unless otherwise ordered;" that is to say, unless ordered to be referred to a special committee. And when the Senate shall consider a treaty, bill

or resolution, as in committee of the whole, the Vice-President or President pro tempore may call a member to f the chair, during the time the Senate shall remain in committee of the whole; and the chairman so called shall, during such time, have the powers of a President pro tempore.

e, or

The proceedings of the Senate, as in a committee of the w in quasi-committee, are precisely as in a real committee une whole, taking no questions but on amendments. When Bough the whole, they consider the quasi-committee as risen, these resumed, without any motion, question, or resolution to that effect, and the President reports, that "the House, acting as in committee of the whole, have had under consideration the bill entitled, &c., and have made sundry amendments, which he will now report to the House." The bill is then before them, as it would have been if reported from a committee, and questions are regularly to be put again on every amendment; which being gone through, the President pauses to give time to the House to propose amendments to the body of the bill, and when through, puts the question, whether it shall be read a third time?

After progress in amending a bill in quasi-committee, a motion may be made to refer it to a special committee. If the motion prevails, it is equivalent in effect to the several votes that the committee rise, the House resume itself, discharge the committee of the whole, and refer the bill to a special committee. In that case, the amendments already made fall. But if the motion fails, the quasi-committee stands in statu quo.

How far does this 28th rule subject the House, when in quasi-committee, to the laws which regulate the proceedings of a committee of the whole? The particulars, in which these differ from proceedings in the House, are the following:-1. In a committee, every member may speak as often as he pleases.-2. The votes of a committee may be rejected or altered when reported to the House.-3. A committee, even of the whole, cannot refer any matter to another committee. 4. In a committee, no previous question can be taken the only means to avoid an improper

discussion, is to move that the committee rise: ani if it be apprehended that the same discussion will be attempted on returning into committee, the House can discharge them, and proceed itself on the business, keeping down the improper discussion by the previous question.-5. A committee cannot punish a breach of order, in the House, or in the gallery,9 Grey, 113; it can only rise and report it to the House, who may proceed to punish.

[ocr errors]

The 1st and 2d of these peculiarities attach to the quasi-committee of the Senate, as every day's practice proves; and seem to be the only unes to which the 28th rule meant to subject them: for it continues to be a House, and therefore, though it acts in some respects as a committee, in others it "reserves its character as a House.-Thus, 3d, It is in the daily habito rring its iness to a special committee. -4th. It admits the previous question: if it not, it would have no means of preventing an improper discussion; not being able, as the committee is, to avoid it by returning into the House: for the moment it would resume the same subject there, the 20th rule declares it again a quasi-committee.-5th. It would doubtless exercise its powers as a House on any breach of order.-6tn. It takes a quяion by Yea and Nay, as the House does.-7th. It receives messages from the President and the other House.-8th. In the midst of a debate, it receives a motion to adjouTMn, and adjourns as a House, not as a conttee.



IN Parliament, after the bill has been read a second time, if, on the motion and question, it be not com. mitted, or if no proposition for commitment be made, the Speaker reads it by paragraphs, pausing between

each, but putting no questions but on amendments proposed; and when through the whole, he puts the question, Whether it shall be read a third time? if it came from the other House. Or, if originating with themselves, Whether it shall be engrossed and read a third time? The Speaker reads sitting, but rises to put & question. The clerk stands while he reads.

But the Senate of the United States is so much in the habit of making many and material amendments at the third reading, that it has become the practice not to engross a bill till it has passed. An irregular and dangerous practice; because, in this way, the paper which passes the Senate is not that which goes to the other House; and that which goes to the other House as the act of the Senate, has never been seen in Senate. In reducing numerous, difficult, and ille. gible amendments into the text, the secretary may, with the most innocent intentions, commit errors which can never again be corrected.*

The bill being now as perfect as its friends can make it, this is the proper stage for those, fundament ally opposed, to make their first attack. All attempts at other periods are with disjointed efforts; because many who do not expect to be in favour of the bill, ultimately, are willing to let it go on to its perfect

* This difficulty has since been obviated by the following Rule of the Senate:

"The final question upon the second reading of every bill, resolu tion, constitutional amendment, or motion, originating in the Senate, and requiring three readings previous to being passed, shall be, Whe ther it shall be engrossed and read a third time? and no amendment shall be received for discussion at the third reading of any bill, resolution, amendment, or motion, unless by unanimous consent of the members present: but it shall at all times be in order, before the final passage of any such bill, resolution, constitutional amendment, or motion, to move its commitment; and should such commitment take place, and any amendment be reported by the committee, the saio bill, resolution, constitutional amendment, or motion, shall be again read a second time, and considered as in committed of the whole, and then the aforesaid question shall be again put "-Rule 29.


state, to take time to examine it themselves, and to hear what can be said for it; knowing that, after all, they have sufficient opportunities of giving it their veto. Its two last stages, therefore, are reserved for this, that is to say, on the question, Whether it shall be engrossed and read a third time? and, lastly, Whether it shall pass? The first of these is usually the most interesting contest; because then the whole subject is new and engaging, and the minds of the members having not yet been declared by any trying vote, the issue is the more doubtful. In this stage therefore, is the main trial of strength between its friends and opponents; and it behooves every one to make up his mind decisively for this question, or he loses the main battle; and accident and management may, and often do, prevent a successful rallying on the next and last question, Whether it shall pass ?

When the bill is engrossed, the title is to be endorsed on the back, and not within the bill.-Hakew. 250.



WHERE papers are laid before the House, or referred to a committee, every member has a right to have them once read at the table, before he can be compelled to vote on them. But it is a great, though common error, to suppose that he has a right, toties quoties, to have acts, journals, accounts, or papers, on the table, read independently of the will of the House. The delay and interruption, which this might be made to produce, evince the impossibility of the existence of such a right. There is indeed so maniest a propriety of permitting every member to have

« AnteriorContinuar »