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when the assembly shall think proper to receive it. Sometimes the formality of a motion and question as to the receiving of the report is dispensed with. Members may cry out "Now, now," whereupon the chairman proceeds, or someone mentions another time, and this may be fixed by common consent. But if there is not general consent, the time for the reception of the report should be fixed by motion and vote.
Jefferson thus states the method in Congress: “On taking up a bill reported with amendments the amendments only are read by the clerk. The Speaker then reads the first, and puts it to the question, and so on till the whole are adopted or rejected, before any other amendment be admitted, except it be an amendment to an amendment. When through the amendments of the committee, the Speaker pauses, and gives time for amendments to be proposed in the House to the body of the bill; as he does also if it has been reported without amendments; putting no questions but on amendments proposed; and when through the whole, he puts the question whether the bill shall be read a third time" (Manual, Section XXIX).
On this the House Digest says: "The procedure outlined by this provision of the parliamentary law applies to bills when reported from the Committee of the Whole; but in [later] practice it is usual to vote on the amendments in gross. But any member may demand a separate vote."
In the United States House of Representatives there are two Committees of the Whole House, namely, "The Committee of the Whole House," and "The Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union." The phrase "State of the Union" is found in the Constitution of the United States, where it is made the duty of the President "from time to time (to) give to Congress information of the State of the Union." In the House the Committee on the State of the Union "has charge of all public bills which appropriate money or property or require appropriation thereafter of the money or property of the United States,” and it may sit on any day. In it "almost anything is liable
to be debated," and "it has been frequently held that the member is not, in Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union, in general debate, confined to the subject directly before the committee unless the proposition is a special order" (Reed's Rules, pp. 72, 73).
IN Congress there is a form of committee work called the Quasi-Committee. The word quasi is from the Latin quasi, meaning "as if," "as it were.' In the English use "generally implying that which it qualifies is in some degree fictitious or unreal" (Century Dictionary). In other words, it is not fully what the qualified word implies. A Quasi-committee is not quite a committee, though it does the work of a committee. A Quasi-Committee of the Whole has not gone through all the forms of such a committee, the presiding officer of the body does not name any other to preside, but retains his chair, there is not the full form of the body resolving itself into a Committee of the Whole, but the forms are supposed "as it were," and without a break the body acts "as if" it were a committee, passing from one to the other and back again without any real interval or loss of time.
Jefferson says: "The proceeding of the Senate as in a Committee of the Whole, or in quasi-committee, is precisely as in a real Committee of the Whole, taking nó question but on amendments. When through the whole, they consider the quasi-committee as risen, the House resumed without any motion, question, or resolution to that effect, and the President reports that 'the House, acting as in a Committee of the Whole, have had under their consideration the bill entitled, &c., and have made sundry amendments which he will now report to the House.' The bill is then before them as it would have been if reported from a committee, and the questions are regularly to be put again on every amendment; which being gone through, the President pauses to give time to
the House to propose amendments to the body of the bill, and, when through, puts the question whether it shall be read a third time" (Manual, Section XXX).
"In the House of Representatives procedure 'in the House as in Committee. of the Whole' is by unanimous consent only, as the order of business gives no place for a motion that business be considered in this manner. In the House an order for this procedure means merely that the bill will be read for amendment and debate under the five-minute rule, without general debate (Speaker Clark, May 26, 1911). The Speaker remains in the chair, and when the bill has been gone through he makes no report, but puts the question on the engrossment and third reading and on the passage" (Digest of the United States House of Representatives).
"How far does this XXVIIIth rule [of the Senate] subject the House, when in quasi-committee, to the laws which regulate the proceedings of Committees of the Whole? The particulars in which these differ from the proceedings in the House are the following: 1. In a committee every member may speak as often as he pleases. 2. The votes of a committee may be rejected or altered when reported to the House. 3. A committee, even of the whole, cannot refer any matter to another committee. 4. In a committee no previous question can be taken; the only means to avoid an improper discussion is to move that the committee rise; and if it be apprehended that the same discussion will be attempted on returning into committee, the House can discharge them, and proceed itself on the business, keeping down the improper discussion by the previous question. 5. A committee cannot punish a breach of order in the House or in the gallery. It can only rise and report to the House, who may proceed to punish.
"The first and second of these peculiarities attach to the quasi-committee of the Senate, as every day's practice proves, and it seems to be the only ones to which the
XXVIIIth rule meant to subject them; for it continues to be a House, and therefore, though it acts in some respects as a committee, in others it preserves its character as a House. Thus (3) it is in the daily habit of referring its business to a special committee. 4. It admits of the previous question. If it did not, it would have no means of preventing an improper discussion; not being able, as a committee is, to avoid it by returning into the House, for the moment it would resume the same subject there, the XXVIIIth rule declares it again a quasi-committee. 5. It would doubtless exercise its powers as a House on any breach of order. 6. It takes a question by yea and nay, as the House does. 7. It receives messages from the President and the other House. 8. In the midst of a debate it receives a motion to adjourn, and adjourns as a House, not as a committee" (Manual, Section XXX).
In other words, it is the House acting as though it were a committee, but never abandoning the powers of the House, and changing from House to committee and committee to House at pleasure, but without delay and without all the forms of a committee meeting separately.
Acting informally as in Committee of the Whole is sometimes phrased differently, and a method of action which has become customary in some assemblies is that which is called Informal Consideration of a Question. Instead of going into Committee of the Whole, the body first considers the question informally, and afterward formally.
While acting informally a member can speak as many times as he pleases, and as long as permitted in the assembly. The presiding officer retains his seat. It is not necessary to move to rise. The only motions that can be made when acting upon resolutions are to amend and to adopt. The adoption of any other motion puts an end
to the informal consideration.
When consideration has ended, the chairman, without further motion, announces that "the assembly, acting informally (or as in Committee of the Whole) has had such