In recent US time, our top politicians have sparked some serious House Judiciary Committee hearings. I’m watching you President Donald Trump.
I’m guessing that the majority of people don’t pay attention to these hearings. Impeachment hearings for presidents are, however, arouse excitement. When lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee say “I move to strike the last word!” the hearings can also cause confusion.
In essence, it basically means “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 phrase.
The person making the claim uses a phrase from the parliament to signal their desire 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 the House member who is proposing an amendment is given five minutes to explain the amendment.
If a person wants to oppose the amendment, they are allowed five minutes make their opposition.
If the members want to prolong discussions on the subject They can make use of pro modificare amending in order to “strike” one or more phrases from the text, thus making an amendment “incomplete.”
The suggestion of striking but, it’s not literal. Nobody is actively seeking to remove or take words out of the text. They’d like more time to debate the root of the matter.
In a piece that focuses on the “I move to strike the last word” statement, Noreen O’Donnell quotes Bill Shcute the acting director for 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 example of a pro forma amendment. But what exactly does that mean?
To recap, we know that the guidelines of the congressional procedure permit a member to have five minutes to present 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’s 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 modificare.
The Congressional Institute’s Congressional Glossary defines Pro Forma Amendments 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 the opportunity to talk for longer.
The House Judiciary Committee Debate
On the 12th of December in 2019 The House Judiciary Committee debated two impeachment articles 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 such as Noreen O’Donnell who wrote her article “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. While the rest people might view this tradition as an act of deceit, loophole or a technicality, for politicians, it’s a part of the procedure.