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How the Rangel proceedings will work


The resolution has now been brought to the floor for debate by the Chair of the Ethics Committee Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). She will control one hour of debate. Lofgren allotted 30 minutes to Rangel to use as he will. He has been encouraged to designate someone to manage his time, but he could manage it himself.

Lofgren allotted 15 minutes to Ranking Member of the Ethics Committee Jo Bonner (R-TX) and she controls 15 minutes.

After the hour of debate here's where it gets, well, complicated.

There will be at least three (and possibly more) votes that occur in the series that includes the vote on the censure resolution. Without getting to into parliamentarian procedure, we expect a PREVIOUS QUESTION, a MOTION TO RECOMMIT, and a final vote on the CENSURE RESOLUTION.

We also expect some member of the Democratic Party to offer a motion to amend or refer so that the House gets an opportunity to vote on a reprimand instead of a censure. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) said a few minutes ago that "Someone will offer it."

What the vehicle looks like that would include the chance to vote on a reprimand is still unclear. Rep G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) said, "I would hope that if someone were to offer a motion to amend it would be made in order and then that vote would take place. I think Mr. Rangel is entitled and the members are entitled, institution is entitled for the members to have options on this vote. And so I would hope the members would have the right to vote for either a reprimand or a censure and hopefully we'll find a vehicle to make that in order. "

So after the debate what you could see is:

- A vote on the previous question
- A vote on some kind of motion to amend or motion to refer
- A vote on a motion to recommit (which is controlled by the Republicans)
- A vote on the censure resolution.

Note on the motion to recommit: The motion to recommit is controlled by the GOP. If they pass on using it, in theory, Rangel or one of his designates could use this motion to have his punishment brought down to a reprimand. The rumor is the GOP is going to use the motion to recommit to keep Rangel from being able to offer an amendment. Basically the motion will look almost exactly like the resolution but they'll change a couple of commas or the placement of a word. If the GOP does that, it doesn't really matter if it's voted up or down and the House would move on to the the vote on the actual censure resolution.

If the resolution passes, Speaker Pelosi would read the censure to Rangel while he is standing in the well of the House almost immediately after the vote.