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Committee on Rules Legislative Process Program
110th Congress

Floor Process for a Special Rule

When the time comes to present a rule, the majority member who filed the rule (a privileged House resolution), or another majority member of the Rules Committee designated by the chairman, is recognized by the Speaker. That Member stands at the majority committee table on the House Floor. Once recognized, the Member states:


Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution __________, and ask for its immediate consideration.

(Any member of the Committee on Rules may be recognized to call up a rule that has been on the House Calendar for at least seven legislative days, and the Speaker is required to recognize the Rules Committee member as a privileged question, so long as the member has given one day's notice of an intent to seek recognition for that purpose.)

Once the Clerk has read the resolution, the Speaker recognizes the majority Rules Committee member handling the rules for one hour. The majority floor manager then customarily yields thirty minutes to a minority counterpart for the purposes of debate only. The length of debate on the rule varies according to the degrees of controversy over the bill or the complexity of the rule, but debate on most noncontroversial rules is over within fifteen or twenty minutes and the rule may be accepted by voice vote.

Since a rule is considered in the House under the hour rule, no amendments are in order unless the floor manager offers an amendment or yields to another member for that purpose. At the conclusion of debate on the rule, the floor manager moves the previous question. If no objection is heard, the House proceeds to vote on the rule. If objection is heard, a vote occurs on the previous question. If the previous question is rejected, however, a Member who opposed the previous question (usually the Rules Committee minority floor manager) is recognized. That Member then controls one hour of debate time on the amendment. The Member controlling the time may offer an amendment to the rule and then move the previous question on the amendment and on the rule when debate has concluded. Once the rule is adopted (with or without amendments), the legislation it concerns is eligible for consideration under the terms of the rule.