House Floor Consideration
Consideration of a measure by the full House can be a simple or very complex operation. In general a measure is ready for consideration by the full House after it has been reported by a committee. Under certain circumstances, it may be brought to the Floor directly.
The consideration of a measure may be governed by a “rule”. A rule is itself a simple resolution, which must be passed by the House, that sets out the particulars of debate for a specific bill—how much time will be allowed for debate, whether amendments can be offered, and other matters.
Debate time for a measure is normally divided between proponents and opponents. Each side yields time to those members who wish to speak on the bill. When amendments are offered, these are also debated and voted upon. If the House is in session today, you can see a summary of Current House Floor Proceedings.
After all debate is concluded and amendments decided upon, the House is ready to vote on final passage. In some cases, a vote to “recommit” the bill to committee is requested. This is usually an effort by opponents to change some portion or table the measure. If the attempt to recommit fails, a vote on final passage is ordered.
Votes on final passage, as well as all other votes in the House, may be taken by the electronic voting system which registers each individual member's response. These votes are referred to as Yea/Nay votes or recorded votes, and are available in House Votes by bill number, roll call vote number or words describing the reason for the vote.
Votes in the House may also be by voice vote, and no record of individual responses is available.