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U.S. House 
Document No. 106-320



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U.S. House 
Document No. 106-320




[106th Congress House Rules Manual -- House Document No. 106-320]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office Online Database]

[Page 78-80]

                               ARTICLE V.

  The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it
necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the
Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States,
shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case,
shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution,
when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States,
or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode
of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the
Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent,
shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

  Amendments <> to the Constitution are proposed in the form of joint
resolutions, which have their several readings and are enrolled and
signed by the presiding officers of the two Houses (V, 7029, footnote),
but are not presented to the President for his approval (V, 7040;
see discussion

[[Page 79]]

under Sec. 115, supra; Hollingsworth v. Virginia, 3 U.S. (3 Dall.) 378
(1798)). They are filed with the Archivist who, under the law
(1 U.S.C. 106b; 1 U.S.C. 112), has the responsibility for the certification
and publication of such amendments, once they are ratified by the States.
Under the earlier procedure, the two Houses sometimes requested the
President to transmit to the States certain proposed amendments
(V, 7041, 7043), but a concurrent resolution to that end was without
privilege (VIII, 3508). The President notified Congress by message of
the promulgation of the ratification of a constitutional amendment
(V, 7044).-

  The vote required on a joint resolution proposing an amendment
to the Constitution is two-thirds of those voting, a quorum being
present, and not two-thirds of the entire membership (V, 7027, 7028;
VIII, 3503). The majority required to pass a constitutional amendment,
like the majority required to pass a bill over the President's veto
(VII, 1111) and the majority required to adopt a motion to suspend the
rules (Dec. 16, 1981, pp. 31850, 31851, 31855, 31856), is two-thirds of
those Members voting either in the affirmative or negative, a quorum
being present, and Members who only indicate that they are ''present''
are not counted in this computation (Nov. 15, 1983, p. 32685). The
requirement of the two-thirds vote applies to the vote on the final
passage and not to amendments (V, 7031, 7032; VIII, 3504), or prior
stages (V, 7029, 7030), but is required where the House votes on
agreeing to Senate amendments (V, 7033, 7034; VIII, 3505), or on
agreeing to a conference report (V, 7036). One House having, by a two-
thirds vote, passed in amended form a proposed constitutional amendment
from the other House, and then having by a majority vote receded from
its amendment, the constitutional amendment was held not to be passed
(V, 7035).

  In the 95th Congress, both the House and Senate agreed by a majority
vote to House Joint Resolution 638, extending the time period for
ratification by the States of the Equal Rights Amendment, where House
Joint Resolution 208 of the 92d Congress, proposing the amendment, had
provided for a seven-year ratification period. The House determined in
the 95th Congress, by laying on the table by a record vote a privileged
resolution asserting that a vote of two-thirds of the Members present
and voting was required to pass a joint resolution extending the
ratification period for a constitutional amendment already submitted to
the States, that only a majority vote was required on H.J. Res. 638
(Speaker O'Neill, Aug. 15, 1978, p. 26203).

  The joint resolution extending the ratification period for the Equal
Rights Amendment was delivered to the President, who signed it although
expressing doubt as to the necessity for his doing so (Presidential
Documents, Oct. 19, 1978). When sent to the Archivist, the joint
resolution was not assigned a public law number, but the Archivist
notified the States of the action of the Congress in extending the
ratification period. For a judicial decision voiding this extension as
well as declaring that a State does have

[[Page 80]]

the power to rescind a prior ratification of a proposed constitutional
amendment, see Idaho v. Freeman, 529 F.Supp. 1107 (D.C.D. Idaho, 1981),
judgment stayed sub nom. National Organization of Women v. Idaho, 455
U.S. 918 (1982), vacated and remanded to dismiss, 459 U.S. 809 (1982).

  The yeas and nays are not required to pass a joint resolution
proposing to amend the Constitution (V, 7038-7039; VIII, 3506).

  Question has arisen as to the power of a State to recall its assent to
a constitutional amendment (V, 7042; footnotes to Sec. Sec. 225, 234,
infra) but has not been the subject of a final judicial determination.

  Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States:
National Prohibition Cases, 253 U.S. 350 (1920); Hawke v. Smith,
253 U.S. 221 (1920); Dillon v. Gloss, 256 U.S. 368 (1921);
Leser v. Garnett, 258 U.S. 130 (1922); Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (1939);
Chandler v. Wise, 307 U.S. 474 (1939).