Commit (motion)

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The motion to commit (or refer), in parliamentary procedure, is used to refer another motion—usually a main motion -- to a committee.

Explanation and Use[edit]

Commit (RONR)
Class Subsidiary motion
In order when another has the floor? No
Requires second? Yes
Debatable? Yes, although debate on the motion must be confined to its merits only, and cannot go into the main question except as necessary for debate of the immediately pending question.
May be reconsidered? Yes, if committee has not begun consideration of the question. A negative vote on this motion can be reconsidered only until such time as progress in business or debate has made it essentially a new question.
Amendable? Yes
Vote required Majority

A motion to commit should specify which committee the matter is to be referred, and if the committee is a special committee appointed specifically for purposes of the referred motion, it should also specify the number of committee members and the method of their selection, unless that is specified in the bylaws.[1]

Any proposed amendments to the main motion that are pending at the time the motion is referred to a committee go to the committee as well.[2]

Once referred, but before the committee reports its recommendations back to the assembly, the referred motion may be removed from the committee's consideration by the motion to discharge a committee.

In the United States House of Representatives, a motion to recommit can be made with or without instructions. If the motion is made without instructions, the bill or resolution is simply sent back to the committee. If the motion is made with instructions and the motion is agreed to, the chairman of the committee in question will immediately report the bill or resolution back to the whole House with the new language. In this sense, a motion to recommit with instructions is effectively an amendment.

Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR)[edit]

The motion to commit has three variations which do not turn a question over to a smaller group, but simply permit the assembly's full meeting body to consider it with the greater freedom of debate that is allowed to committees. These forms are:

Passing any of these motions removes the limitations on the number of times a member can speak.[3]

The Standard Code (TSC)[edit]

Under The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, the "committee of the whole" and "quasi committee of the whole options" are not available. TSC calls these devices "convoluted".[4] Informal consideration is available under TSC.


  1. ^ Robert, Henry M. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th ed., p. 171
  2. ^ RONR, p. 177
  3. ^ RONR, p. 168
  4. ^ Sturgis, Alice (2001). The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, 4th ed., p. 232, 233, 236