House to return the same; which last motion shall be acted upon immediately, and without debate, and if determined in the negative, shall be a final disposition of the motion to reconsider.

The rule permitting a reconsideration of a question affixing to it no limitation of time or circumstance, it may be asked whether there is no limitation? If, after the vote, the paper on which it is passed has been parted with, there can be no reconsideration: as if a vote has been for the passage of a bill, and the bill has been sent to the other House. But where the paper remains, as on a bill rejected; when, or under what circumstances, does it cease to be susceptible of reconsideration? This remains to be settled; unless a sense that the right of reconsideration is a right to waste the time of the House in repeated agitations of the same question, so that it shall never know when a question is done with, should induce them to reform this anomalous proceeding.

In Parliament a question once carried cannot be questioned again at the same session, but must stand as the judgment of the House. Towns., col. 67; Mem. in Hakew., 33. And a bill once rejected, another of the same substance cannot be brought in again the same session. Hakew., 158; 6 Grey, 392. But this does not extend to prevent putting the same question in different stages of a bill; because every stage of a bill submits the whole and every part of it to the opinion of the House, as open for amendment, either by insertion or omission, though the same amendment has been accepted or rejected in a former stage. So in reports of committees, e. g., report of an address, the same question is before the House, and open for free discussion. Towns., col. 26; 2 Hats., 98, 100, 101. So orders of the House, or instructions to committees, may be discharged. So a bill, begun in one House, and sent to the other, and there rejected, may be renewed again in that other, passed and sent back. Ib., 92; 3 Hats., 161. Or if, instead of being rejected, they read it once and lay it aside or amend it, and put it off a month, they may order in another to the same effect, with the same or a different title. Hakew., 97, 98.

*The rule now fixes a limitation.

Divers expedients are used to correct the effects of this rule; as, by passing an explanatory act, if anything has been omitted or ill expressed, 3 Hats., 278, or an act to enforce, and make more effectual an act, &c., or to rectify mistakes in an act, &c., or a committee on one bill may be instructed to receive a clause to rectify the mistakes of another. Thus, June 24, 1685, a clause was inserted in a bill for rectifying a mistake committed by a clerk in engrossing a bill of supply. 2 Hats., 194, 6. Or the session may be closed for one, two, three or more days, and a new one commenced. But then all matters depending must be finished, or they fall, and are to begin de novo. 2 Hats., 94, 98. Or a part of the subject may be taken up by another bill, or taken up in a different way. 6 Grey, 304, 316. And in cases of the last magnitude, this rule has not been so strictly and verbally observed as to stop indispensable proceedings altogether. 2 Hats., 92, 98, Thus when the address on the preliminaries of peace in 1782 had been lost by a majority of one, on account of the importance of the question, and smallness of the majority, the same question in substance, though with some words not in the first, and which might change the opinion of some members, was brought on again and carried, as the motives for it were thought to outweigh the objection of form. 2 Hats., 99, 100.

A second bill may be passed to continue an act of the same session, or to enlarge the time limited for its execution. 2 Hats., 95,

98. This is not in contradiction to the first act.

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A bill from the other House is sometimes ordered to lie on the table. 2 Hats., 97.

When bills, passed in one House and sent to the other, are grounded on special facts requiring proof, it is usual, either by message or at a conference, to ask the grounds and evidence; and this evidence whether arising out of papers, or from the examination of witnesses is immediately communicated. 3 Hats., 48.

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A Committee on Engrossed Bills, to consist of three Senators, which shall examine all bills, amendments, and joint resolutions before they go out of the possession of the Senate.


When either House, e. g., the House of Commons, send a bill to the other, the other may pass it with amendments. The regular progression in this case is, that the Commons disagree to the amendment; the Lords insist on it; the Commons insist on their disagreement; the Lords adhere to their amendment; the Commons adhere to their disagreement. The term of insisting may be repeated as often as they choose to keep the question open. But the first adherence by either renders it necessary for the other to recede or adhere also; when the matter is usually suffered to fall. 10 Grey, 148. Latterly, however, there are instances of their having gone to a second adherence. There must be an absolute conclusion of the subject somewhere, or otherwise transactions between the Houses would become endless. 3 Hats., 268, 270. The term of insisting, we are told by Sir John Trevor, was then (1679) newly introduced into parliamentary usage, by the Lords. 7 Grey, 94. It was certainly a happy innovation, as it multiplies the opportunities of trying modifications which may bring the Houses to a concurrence. Either House, however, is free to pass over the term of insisting, and to adhere in the first instance; 10 Grey, 146; but it is not respectful to the other. In the ordinary parliamentary course, there are two free conferences, at least, before an adherence. 10 Grey, 147.

Either House may recede from its amendment and agree to the bill; or recede from their disagreement to the amendment, and agree to the same absolutely, or with an amendment; for here the disagreement and receding destroy one another, and the subject stands as before the disagreement. Elysnge, 23, 27; 9 Grey, 476.

But the House cannot recede from or insist on its own amendment, with an amendment; for the same reason that it cannot send to the other House an amendment to its own act after it has passed the act. They may modify an amendment from the other House by ingrafting an amendment on it, because they have never assented to it; but they cannot amend their own amendment, because they have, on the question, passed it in that form. 9 Grey, 363; 10 Grey, 240. In Senate, March 29, 1798. Nor where one House has adhered to their amendment, and the other agrees with an amendment, can the

first House depart from the form which they have fixed by an adherence.

In the case of a money bill, the Lords proposed amendments, become, by delay, confessedly necessary. The Commons, however, refused them, as infringing on their privilege as to money bills; but they offered themselves to add to the bill a proviso to the same effect, which had no coherence with the Lords' amendments; and urged that it was an expedient warranted by precedent, and not unparlia mentary in a case become impracticable, and irremediable in any 3 Hats., 256, 266, 270, 271. But the Lords refused, and the bill was lost. 1 Chand., 288. A like case, 1 Chand., 311. So the Commons resolved that it is unparliamentary to strike out, at a conference, anything in a bill which hath been agreed and passed by both Houses. 6 Grey, 274; 1 Chand., 312.

other way.

A motion to amend an amendment from the other House takes precedence of a motion to agree or disagree.

A bill originating in one House is passed by the other with an amendment.

The originating House agrees to their amendment with an amendment. The other may agree to their amendment with an amendment, that being only in the 2d and not the ¿d degree; for, as to the amending House, the first amendment with which they passed the bill is a part of its text; it is the only text they have agreed to. The amendment to that text by the originating House, therefore, is only in the 1st degree, and the amendment to that again by the amending House is only in the 2d, to wit, an amendment to an amendment, and so admissible. Just so, when, on a bill from the originating House, the other, at its second reading, makes an amendment; on the third reading this amendment is become the text of the bill, and if an amendment to it be moved, an amendment to that amendment may also be moved, as being only in the 2d degree.


It is on the occasion of amendments between the Houses that conferences are usually asked; but they may be asked in all cases of difference of opinion between the two Houses on matters depending

between them. The request of a conference, however, must always be by the House which is possessed of the papers. 3 Hats, 31;

I Grey, 425.

Conferences may be either simple or free. At a conference simply, written reasons are prepared by the House asking it, and they are read and delivered, without debate, to the managers of the other House at the conference; but are not then to be answered. 4 Grey, 144. The other House then, if satisfied, vote the reasons satisfactory, or say nothing; if not satisfied, they resolve them not satisfactory and ask a conference on the subject of the last conference, where they read and deliver, in like manner, written answers to those reasons. 3 Grey, 183. They are meant chiefly to record the justification of each House to the nation at large, and to posterity, and in proof that the miscarriage of a necessary measure is not imputable to them. 3 Grey, 255. At free conferences, the managers discuss, viva voce and freely, and interchange propositions for such modifications as may be made in a parliamentary way, and may bring the sense of the two Houses together. And each party reports in writing to their respective Houses the substance of what is said on both sides, and it is entered in their journals. 9 Grey, 220; 3 Hats., 280. This report cannot be amended or altered, as that of a committee may be. Journal Senate, May 24, 1796.

A conference may be asked, before the House asking it has come to a resolution of disagreement, insisting or adhering. 3 Hats., 269, 341. In which case the papers are not left with the other conferees, but are brought back to be the foundation of the vote to be given. And this is the most reasonable and respectful proceeding; for, as was urged by the Lords on a particular occasion, "it is held vain, and below the wisdom of Parliament, to reason or argue against fixed

*Several instances have arisen in the Senate where a conference has been asked immediately upon the passage of a House bill with amendments, and before the House had come to a disagreeing vote upon the Senate amendments.

See Senate Journal, second session Forty-second Congress, pages 851 and 1003; Senate Journal, third session Forty-fifth Congress, page 433; Senate Journal, first session Forty-eighth Congress, pages 628 and 643. See also Congressional Record, Vol. 15, Part 4, pages 3975 and 4100 (first session Forty-eighth Congress), where the principle involved was discussed.

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