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How does a motion to recommit differ from a motion to table? Clearly, they are not the same, but how?
Thanks for the question and a good one it is. I can tell you are a loyal C-SPAN viewer.
Motions to recommit and motions to table are not the same thing, but there are similarities. Motions to recommit don’t necessarily have to be a deal killer, though they can be used for that purpose. If a motion to recommit is approved that seeks to simply change the language of the bill under consideration, it will be brought back to the floor immediately with that language added to it. This is what would have happened if we had lost the Head Start motion to recommit vote.
Motions to table on the other hand are used primarily to block or kill amendments or a bill. If a motion to table is approved, that’s it. End of story. Those bad boys can be really lethal. Here’s the scary part, they aren’t debatable and require a simple, majority vote for adoption.
That sounds like a motion to adjourn, which is another hail mary tactic that is typically employed in the House by the minority party. But once the House adjourns, or recommits a bill, why can't the House come back into session, or why can't the committee report out the bill?
I think I know the answer, but I like to at least pretend to believe that there can be a distinction between politics and policy.
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