To Suppress the Question

59. To Suppress the Question. (a) Objection to the consideration of a question. Sometimes a resolution is introduced that the assembly do not wish to consider at all, because it is profitless, or irrelevant to the objects of the assembly, or for other reasons. The proper course to pursue in such case, is for some one, as soon as it is introduced, to "object to the consideration of the question." This objection not requiring a second, the chairman immediately puts the question, "Will the assembly consider this question?" If decided in the negative by a two-thirds vote, the question is immediately dismissed, and cannot be again introduced during that session. This objection must be made when the question is first introduced, before it has been debated, and it can be made when another member has the floor.

(b) Postpone indefinitely. After the question has been debated, the proper motion to use in order to suppress the question for the session, is to postpone indefinitely. It cannot be made while any motion except the original or main question is pending, but it can be made after an amendment has been acted upon, and the main question, as amended, is before the assembly. It opens the merits of the main question to debate to as great an extent as if the main question were before the assembly. On account of these two facts, in assemblies with short sessions it is not very useful, as the same result can usually be more easily attained by the next motion.

(c) Lie on the table. If there is no possibility during the remainder of the session of obtaining a majority vote for taking up the question, then the quickest way of suppressing it is to move "that the question lie on the table;" which, allowing of no debate, enables the majority to instantly lay the question on the table, from which it cannot be taken without their consent.

From its high rank [ 64] and undebatable character, this motion is very commonly used to suppress a question, but, as shown in 57 (b), its effect is merely to lay the question aside till the assembly choose to consider it, and it only suppresses the question so long as there is a majority opposed to its consideration.

To Consider a question a second time

60. To Consider a question a second time. Reconsider. When a question has been once adopted, rejected or suppressed, it cannot be again considered during that session [ 70], except by a motion to "reconsider the vote" on that question. This motion can only be made by one who voted on the prevailing side, and on the day the vote was taken which it is proposed to reconsider.* [In Congress it can be made on the same or succeeding day; and if the yeas and nays were not taken on the vote, any one can move the reconsideration. The yeas and nays are however ordered on all important votes in Congress, which is not the case in ordinary societies.] It can be made and entered on the minutes in the midst of debate, even when another member has the floor, but cannot be considered until there is no question before the assembly, when, if called up, it takes precedence of every motion except to adjourn and to fix the time to which the assembly shall adjourn.

A motion to reconsider a vote on a debatable question, opens to debate the entire merits of the original motion. If the question to be reconsidered is undebatable, then the reconsideration is undebatable.

If the motion to reconsider is carried, the chairman announces that the question now recurs on the adoption of the question the vote on which has been just reconsidered: the original question is now in exactly the same condition that it was in before the first vote was taken on its adoption, and must be disposed of by a vote.

When a motion to reconsider is entered on the minutes, it need not be called up by the mover till the next meeting, on a succeeding day.* [If the assembly has not adopted these or similar rules, this paragraph would not apply, but this motion to reconsider would, like any other motion, fall to the ground if not acted upon before the close of the session at which the original vote was adopted.] If he fails to call it up then, any one else can do so. But should there be no succeeding meeting, either adjourned or regular, within a month, then the effect of the motion to reconsider terminates with the adjournment of the meeting at which it was made, and any one can call it up at that meeting.

In general no motion (except to adjourn) that has been once acted upon, can again be considered during the same session, except by a motion to reconsider. [The motion to adjourn can be renewed if there has been progress in business or debate, and it cannot be reconsidered.] But this rule does not prevent the renewal of any of the motions mentioned in 64, provided the question before the assembly has in any way changed; for in this case, while the motions are nominally the same, they are in fact different.* [Thus to move to postpone a resolution is a different question from moving to postpone it after it has been amended. A motion to suspend the rules for a certain purpose cannot be renewed at the same meeting, but can be at an adjourned meeting. A call for the orders of the day that has been negatived, cannot be renewed while the question then before the assembly is still under consideration. See Rules of Order, 27, for many peculiarities of this motion.]