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or the new provisos might be left to a second question, after having been decided on once before at the same reading, which is contrary to rule. But the question must be on striking out the last member of the section as amended. This sweeps away the exceptions with the rule, and relieves from inconsistence. A question to be divisible must comprehend points so distinct and entire that one of them being taken away, the other may stand entire. But a proviso or exception, without an enacting clause, does not contain an entire point or proposition.
May 31.—The same bill being before the Senate. There was a proviso that the bill should not extend-1. To any foreign minister; nor, 2. To any person to whom the President should give a passport; nor, 3. To any alien merchant conforming himself to such regulations as the President shall prescribe; and a division of the question into its simplest elements was called for. It was divided into four parts, the 4th taking in the words "conforming himself," &c. It was objected that the words "any alien merchant," could not be separated from their modifying words, "conforming," &c., because these words, if left by themselves, contain no substantive idea, will make But admitting that the divisions of a paragraph into separate questions must be so made as that each part may stand by itself, yet the House having, on the question, retained the two first divisions, the words "any alien merchant" may be struck out, and their modifying words will then attach themselves to the preceding description of persons, and become a modification of that description.
When a question is divided, after the question on the 1st member, the 2d is open to debate and amendment; because it is a known rule that a person may rise and speak at any time before the question has been completely decided, by putting the negative as well as affirmative side. But the question is not completely put when the vote has been taken on the first member only. One-half of the question, both affirmative and negative, remains still to be put. See Execut. Four., Fune 25, 1795. The same decision by President Adams.
SEC. XXXVII.—COEXISTING QUESTIONS.
It may be asked whether the House can be in possession of two motions or propositions at the same time? so that, one of them being
decided, the other goes to question without being moved anew? The answer must be special. When a question is interrupted by a vote of adjournment, it is thereby removed from before the House, and does not stand ipso facto before them at their next meeting, but must come forward in the usual way. So, when it is interrupted by the order of the day. Such other privileged questions also as dispose of the main question (e. g., the previous question, postponement, or commitment), remove it from before the House. But it is only suspended by a motion to amend, to withdraw, to read papers, or by a question of order or privilege, and stands again before the House when these are decided. None but the class of privileged questions can be brought forward while there is another question before the House, the rule being that when a motion has been made and seconded, no other can be received except it be a privileged one.
SEC. XXXVIII.—EQUIVALENT QUESTIONS.
If, on a question for rejection, a bill be retained, it passes, of course, to its next reading. Hakew., 141; Scob., 42. And a question for a second reading determined negatively, is a rejection without further question. 4 Grey, 149. And see Elsynge's Memor., 42, in what cases questions are to be taken for rejection.
Where questions are perfectly equivalent, so that the negative of the one amounts to the affirmative of the other, and leaves no other alternative, the decision of the one concludes necessarily the other. 4 Grey, 157. Thus the negative of striking out amounts to the affirmative of agreeing; and therefore to put a question on agreeing after that on striking out, would be to put the same question in effect twice over. Not so in questions of amendments between the two Houses. A motion to recede being negatived, does not amount to a positive vote to insist, because there is another alternative, to wit, to adhere.
A bill originating in one House is passed by the other with an amendment. A motion in the originating House to agree to the amendment is negatived. Does there result from this a vote of disagreement, or must the question on disagreement be expressly voted?
The questions respecting amendments from another House are—1st, to agree; 2d, disagree; 3d, recede; 4th, insist; 5th, adhere.
Ist. To agree.
Either of these concludes the other necessa
zd. To disagree. }rily, for the positive of either is exactly the
3d. To recede. 4th. To insist. 5th. To adhere.
equivalent of the negative of the other, and no
Consequently the negative of these is not equivalent to a positive vote, the other way. It does not raise so necessary an implication as may authorize the Secretary by inference to enter another vote; for two alternatives still remain, either of which may be adopted by the House.
SEC. XXXIX.-THE QUESTION.
The question is to be put first on the affirmative, and then on the negative side.
After the Speaker has put the affirmative part of the question, any member who has not spoken before to the question may rise and speak before the negative be put; because it is no full question till the negative part be put. Scob., 23; 2 Hats., 73.
But in small matters, and which are of course, such as receiving petitions, reports, withdrawing motions, reading papers, &c., the Speaker most commonly supposes the consent of the House where no objection is expressed, and does not give them the trouble of putting the question formally. Scob., 22; 2 Hats., 79, 2, 87; 5 Grey, 129; 9 Grey, 301.
SEC. XL.-BILLS, THIRD READING.
To prevent bills from being passed by surprise, the House, by a standing order, directs that they shall not be put on their passage before a fixed hour, naming one at which the House is commonly full. Hakew., 153.
The usage of the Senate is, not to put bills on their passage till
A bill reported and passed to the third reading, cannot on that day be read the third time and passed; because this would be to pass on two readings in the same day.
At the third reading the Clerk reads the bill and delivers it to the Speaker, who states the title, that it is the third time of reading the bill, and that the question will be whether it shall pass. Formerly the Speaker, or those who prepared a bill, prepared also a breviate or summary statement of its contents, which the Speaker read when he declared the State of the bill, at the several readings. Sometimes, however, he read the bill itself, especially on its passage. Hakew., 136, 137, 153; Coke, 22, 115. Latterly, instead of this, he, at the third reading, states the whole contents of the bill verbatim, only, instead of reading the formal parts, "Be it enacted," &c., he states that "preamble recites so and so the 1st section enacts that, &c.; the 2d section enacts," &c.
But in the Senate of the United States, both of these formalities are dispensed with; the breviate presenting but an imperfect view of the bill, and being capable of being made to present a false one; and the full statement being a useless waste of time, immediately after a full reading by the Clerk, and especially as every member has a printed copy in his hand.
A bill on the third reading is not to be committed for the matter or body thereof, but to receive some particular clause or proviso, it hath been sometimes suffered, but as a thing very unusual. Hakew., 156. Thus, 27 El., 1584, a bill was committed on the third reading, having been formerly committed on the second, but is declared not usual. D'Ewes, 337, col. 2; 414, col. 2.
When an essential provision has been omitted, rather than erase the bill and render it suspicious, they add a clause on a separate
paper, engrossed and called a rider, which is read and put to the question three times. Elsynge's Memo., 59; 6 Grey, 335; 1 Blackst., 183. For examples of riders, see 3 Hats., 121, 122, 124, 156. Every one is at liberty to bring in a rider without asking leave. 1Ο Grey, 52.
It is laid down, as a general rule, that amendments proposed at the second reading shall be twice read, and those proposed at the third reading thrice read; as also all amendments from the other House. Town., col. 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.
It is with great and almost invincible reluctance that amendments are admitted at this reading, which occasion erasures or interlineations. Sometimes a proviso has been cut off from a bill; sometimes erased. 9 Grey, 513.
This is the proper stage for filling up blanks; for if filled up before, and now altered by erasure, it would be peculiarly unsafe.
At this reading the bill is debated afresh, and for the most part is more spoken to at this time than on any of the former readings. Hakew., 153.
The debate on the question whether it should be read a third time, has discovered to its friends and opponents the arguments on which each side relies, and which of these appear to have influence with the House; they have had time to meet them with new arguments, and to put their old ones into new shapes. The former vote has tried the strength of the first opinion, and furnished grounds to estimate the issue; and the question now offered for its passage is the last occasion which is ever to be offered for carrying or rejecting it.
When the debate is ended, the Speaker, holding the bill in his hand, puts the question for its passage, by saying, "Gentlemen, all you who are of opinion that this bill shall pass, say aye;" and after the answer of the ayes, "All those of the contrary opinion, say no." Hakew., 154,
After the bill is passed, there can be no further alteration of it in any point. Hakew., 159.
SEC. XLI.-DIVISION OF THE HOUSE.
The affirmative and negative of the question having been both put and answered, the Speaker declares whether the yeas or nays