Rules of Speaking in Debate

65. Rules of Speaking in Debate. All remarks must be addressed to the chairman, and must be confined to the question before the assembly, avoiding all personalities and reflections upon any one's motives. It is usual for permanent assemblies to adopt rules limiting the number of times any member can speak to the same question, and the time allowed for each speech;* [In Congress the House of Representatives allows from each member only one speech of one hour's length; the Senate allows two speeches without limit as to length.] as otherwise one member, while he could speak only once to the same question, might defeat a measure by prolonging his speech and declining to yield the floor except for a motion to adjourn. In ordinary assemblies two speeches should be allowed each member (except upon an appeal), and these rules also limit the time for each speech to ten minutes. A majority can permit a member to speak oftener or longer whenever it is desired, and the motion granting such permission cannot be debated.

However, if greater freedom is wanted, it is only necessary to consider the question informally, or if the assembly is large, go into committee of the whole.* [See Rules of Order, 32, 33.] If on the other hand it is desired to limit the debate more, or close it altogether, it can be done by a two-thirds vote, as shown in 58 (b).

66. Undebatable Questions and those Opening the Main Question to Debate. [A full list of these will be found in 35, to which the reader is referred. To the undebatable motions in that list, should be added the motion to close or limit debate.]