In recent US history, our most powerful politicians have sparked some serious House Judiciary Committee hearings. I’m taking a look at you Donald Trump, the President. Donald Trump.
My guess is that the majority of citizens aren’t glued to these hearings. Impeachment hearings for presidents are, however, arouse excitement. Also, when lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee say “I move to strike the last word!” the hearings can cause confusion.
In essence, it is “I want to speak and keep the discussion going.”
What Does “I Move to Strike the Last Word” Mean?
As is the norm in politics, “I move to strike the last word” does not necessarily mean what it appears to mean. Nobody is asking to strike the “last word,” or any other term.
The person making the claim uses a phrase from the parliament to indicate their intention to speak and also extend the five minutes limit for discussing an issue.
Simply stated, “I move to strike the last word” is “I want time to talk about this further.”
What Does Saying “I Move to Strike the Last Word” Do?
In a study titled “Speaking on the House Floor: Gaining Time and Parliamentary Phraseology,” the Congressional Research Service explains that an House member who is proposing an amendment is given five minutes to present the issue.
If a member wishes to oppose the amendment, they will also are allowed five minutes make their opposition.
If the members want to prolong discussions on the subject They can make use of pro modificare modifications that “strike” one or more phrases out of the text, rendering an amendment “incomplete.”
The suggestion of striking however, isn’t a literal suggestion. Nobody is trying to eliminate words from the text. They’d like more time to debate the issues at hand.
In a piece that focuses on the “I move to strike the last word” statement, Noreen O’Donnell quotes Bill Shcute who is the temporary director at the Washington Center of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas. The statement is described by him to be “an old trick to allow members a chance to speak for five minutes additional.”
What Is a Pro Forma Amendment?
“I move to strike the last word” is an amendment pro forma. But what exactly does that mean?
To summarize, we understand that the guidelines of the congressional procedure permit a member to have five minutes to discuss the amendment. If an opponent is standing and declares “I rise in opposition to the amendment,” they have five minutes to present their argument.
This is only 10 minutes of debate. Anyone who has watched those House Judiciary Committee hearings knows that they lasted for more than 10 minutes. How? By using a loophole that is more commonly known as the pro form amendment.
The Congressional Institute’s Congressional Glossary defines Pro Forma Amendments in the following manner: Pro Forma Amendment this way:
The pro forma amendment “I move to strike the last word,” is as if the phrase “Open Sesame,” or “Abracadabra!”
It gives speakers more time to discuss.
The House Judiciary Committee Debate
On the 12th of December, 2019 on December 12, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee debated two impeachment motions on behalf of president Donald Trump for 14 hours! Thanks for the strength of “I move to strike the last word.”
The statement was a form of joke with journalists similar to Noreen O’Donnell, who called her piece “If ‘Strike the Last Word’ Was an Impeachment Drinking Game, No One Would Survive.”
Other sources produced video montages of House members repeating the phrase repeatedly.
For the politicians “I move to strike the last word” is a custom. Although the majority of us may view that tradition as an opportunity, loophole or a technicality, for politicians, it’s an integral part of the procedure.