On Agreeing to the Amendment: Amendment 4 to H R 418

House Vote #28 [primary source: house.gov]
Feb 10, 2005 (109th Congress)

This was a vote to approve or reject an amendment.

H.R. 418 (109th): REAL ID Act of 2005
Introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner [R-WI5] on January 26, 2005
Totals     Republican     Democrat     Independent
  Aye 185
10 174 1
  No 236
216 20 0
Not Voting 12
5 7 0
Required: Simple Majority

Vote Details


Where is the Speaker’s vote?

According to current House rules, the Speaker of the House is not required to vote in “ordinary legislative proceedings, except when such vote would be decisive.” In practice, this means the Speaker of the House rarely votes and only does so when it is politically useful. When the Speaker declines to vote, he or she is simply omitted from the roll call by the House Clerk.

What’s the difference between “aye” and “yea”?

There is no meaningful difference between “aye” and “yea” (and “nay” and “no”), but the terms are used in different sorts of votes based on Congress’s long tradition of parliamentary procedure.

The House and Senate follow the U.S. Constitution strictly when it says that bills should be decided on by the “yeas and nays” (Article I, Section 7). So they literally say “yea” and “nay” when voting on bills. In the Senate, they always use these words.

The House sometimes operates under a special set of rules called the “Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union” (or “Committee of the Whole” for short), which is a sort of pseudo-committee that is made up of every congressman. During this mode of operation, the House uses the terms “aye” and “no” instead, but the meaning is the same. (See the Rules of the House, Rule XX, and House Practice in the section Voting.)