Motion to Recommit

Definition of Motion To Recommit

Imagine you’re working on a group project and just before you hand it in, one of your teammates finds a mistake. They ask the group to hold on, review the project, and fix the error before submitting it. That’s a bit like what a “Motion to Recommit” is in the United States House of Representatives. It’s when a member of the House asks to take another look at a piece of legislation, possibly to revise it, immediately before the final decision is made.

A Motion to Recommit is a formal request by a member of the House to send a bill back to the committee it came from. This happens at a critical time, right before the bill is going to be voted on for the last time. The goal may be to study it more, suggest changes, or gather additional details. It gives the lawmakers one final opportunity to ensure the bill is ready and right before it possibly becomes law.

How to Guide

When a member wants to make a Motion to Recommit, they must stand up in the House and ask out loud for the bill to be sent back to the committee. This request is made after all the talk about the bill is done, but just before it’s time to vote yes or no on passing it. The person asking needs to get the attention and permission of the person in charge, known as the speaker, to suggest this motion. After that, members can discuss this motion briefly before deciding through a vote whether they should take another look at the bill or leave it as is. If more members agree than disagree, the bill goes back to committee. If not, the voting on the bill continues as planned.

Types of Motion To Recommit

  • Motion to Recommit with Instructions: This tells the committee to make certain changes to the bill. It’s like giving the committee a to-do list to fix specific parts of the legislation before it can move on.
  • Simple Motion to Recommit: This type doesn’t ask for any particular changes. It’s more about having the committee give the whole bill another look without specific directions.

Examples of Motion To Recommit

  • In 2019, a Motion to Recommit with instructions impacted a bill about background checks for guns. It resulted in adding a rule that required immigration officials to be notified if someone without legal immigration status tried to buy a gun. This is an example because it used the motion to make a specific addition to the bill.
  • A Motion to Recommit with instructions was also used in 2007 to alter a bill about student loans. It changed how the government helped students with their loan payments. This case is an example because it modified the existing bill to provide a different form of financial support to students.

Why is it Important?

The Motion to Recommit serves a crucial role in the lawmaking process. It acts as a last chance to catch mistakes or make improvements in a bill. Think about when you’re playing a video game and right before you beat the level, you get a moment to double-check everything is set to win. This motion provides that moment. It’s also important because it lets the small group of lawmakers, who might not have enough power to stop a bill, have a say in changing it or slow things down a bit. It’s like a tool they can use to make sure their voices are heard.

Its importance extends to everyday life because the laws made through this process affect everyone. For instance, changes to a bill on healthcare or education can impact students’ lives or the medical care you and your family receive. By ensuring there’s a checkpoint for last-minute changes, the Motion to Recommit helps create better laws that consider different opinions and perspectives.


The Motion to Recommit has been part of the House’s rule book for a long time, starting unofficially in the late 1700s and becoming formal in 1822. Back then, it was used just to send bills back for more work without telling the committee what to change. But in 1909, they added the option to include instructions, which is how we have the detailed ‘with instructions’ version today.


This motion isn’t just about process; it’s also about politics. Sometimes it causes disagreements because the bigger party in the House sees it as a delay tactic by the smaller party. The smaller party, on the other hand, views it as a necessary part of having influence. This mix of views can lead to arguments over whether the Motion to Recommit is fair or if it just makes it harder for laws to be passed.

Related Topics

  • Filibuster: Like the Motion to Recommit, a filibuster can delay legislative processes in the U.S. Senate. Senators talk for a long time to block a vote on a bill.
  • Amendments: These are changes proposed during the debate on a bill. They’re similar to instructions in a Motion to Recommit but occur at different stages of the process.
  • Veto Power: This is the President’s power to reject a bill passed by Congress. It serves as another form of check and balance, similar to but more powerful than a Motion to Recommit.
  • Committee Review: Before bills even get to the House floor, they go through committees where they are studied and changed. This process is connected to what happens if a bill is recommitted.


To wrap it up, the Motion to Recommit is a powerful tool in the U.S. House of Representatives that lets lawmakers pause and reconsider a bill right before its final vote. It can be a way to make last-minute changes or simply a strategy to influence the lawmaking process. Whether it’s adding clarity, finding compromise, or creating better laws, the Motion to Recommit shows how democracy works by allowing many voices to be heard and ensuring that the creation of laws is a careful and thoughtful process.