House Passes Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act

April 20, 2007
The House has passed the Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act, by a vote of 269-134.

Passage came after defeat of a Republican motion to recommit with instructions. As background, the C-Span Congressional Glossary provides the following definition:

A motion to recommit returns a bill to committee, in effect killing it. However, a motion to recommit with instructions is a last opportunity to amend the bill.

The instructions to the committee direct changes to the text of the bill. If adopted, the chairman of the named committee immediately stands and reports the change back to the House. The next step is the House vote on final passage of the bill.

Minority Members receive priority of recognition for offering motions to recommit.

During the 110th Congress, Republicans have repeatedly attempted to use motions to recommit with instructions to kill bills on the verge of passage. The strategy is to institute a divisive change to the bill at the last moment, often unrelated to the original intent of the legislation, hoping that the altered bill can then be defeated on final passage.

Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, who introduced the bill and led debate for the Democratic side, spoke against today's motion to recommit with instructions, noting that with an open rule as there was in this debate, there was ample opportunity to introduce amendments throughout the process:

Chairman Frank:

"Members on the other side had every opportunity at the committee, and in this open rule fully to debate this and to offer amendments. They chose not to. They chose instead to legislate by ambush."