At least in the Senate it´s easier given the majority leader is not the chair, that would be the president pro tempore or the vice president. But in general, how does this happen if push comes to shove?

Also, if it is relevant, the kind of motion can be anything, to pass a bill, confirm a nominee, to make a normal resolution, to dethrone the speakership (or hypothetically to choose a new president pro tempore), etc, whichever one you know best.

  • 2
    For the Senate, see Can the US Senate bypass the Majority Leader's agenda?
    – Rick Smith
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 12:18
  • Except for breaking ties, I think the VP's current role as President of the Senate is mostly ceremonial, they don't have any actual administrative power.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 21:25
  • 1
    The VP is strictly speaking the chairperson, and that would be important because the Senate doesn´t want to give any power to someone they can´t control. Any power the chair has, the VP also can use if they just walk in and demand the dais, so they don´t give any power to the chair including the kind to block a motion. Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 22:42

1 Answer 1


I'll answer from the perspective of the U.S. House of Representatives, since, as was pointed out in a comment, both a question and an answer covering the Senate already exists.

Discharge Petition

Similarly to the workings in the Senate, a bill may be forced out of a committee ("discharged") for consideration of a full vote by... another vote. It could be used as a means of bypassing the Speaker, but is also used to force consideration on a bill that is seemingly stuck in an intransigent committee. It still requires a majority of voting representatives (currently 218 of 435 voting Members) to sign on to. The most recent bill passed this way that I am aware of was in 2015 to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States (H.Res.450 of the 114th Congress), although Democrats considered such a tactic during the most recent Debt Ceiling dilemma. Before that, the previous usage in the House was in 2002 to advance their version of the McCain-Feingold Act aka "Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002".

Rule XV, Clause 2 describes the process in detail if interested (beginning on page 33 of the document, numbered page 29, right-hand column of the Rules of the House of Representatives)

Discharge motions
2.(a)(1) A Member may present to the Clerk a motion in writing to discharge-
(A) a committee from consideration of a public bill or public resolution that has been referred to it for 30 legislative days; or
(B) the Committee on Rules from consideration of a resolution that has been referred to it for seven legislative days and that proposes a special order of business for the consideration of a public bill or public resolution that has been reported by a committee or has been referred to a committee for 30 legislative days.

Unlike in the Senate, the House Rules do require that amendments to a bill be germane, as given in Rule XVI, Clause 7:

7. No motion or proposition on a subject different from that under consideration shall be admitted under color of amendment.

What this means is that when any given bill comes before the full House, individual Representatives cannot suggest amendments to the bill that do not have anything to do with the subject of the bill. This tactic is used in the Senate as a way to force consideration of issues and bypass their Committees and the Majority Leader, or as a way to sabotage the passing of legislation itself by attempting to insert amendments that would "poison" the entire bill.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .