Word for the Wise May 02, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Calling the question
Robert's Rules Day falls today; our first order of business is to note that the parliamentary celebration coincides with (well, actually is scheduled for) the 1837 birth anniversary of Mr. Henry Robert. (来源：英语麦当劳 http://www.EnglishCN.com)
General Henry Martyn Robert attended West Point and served with distinction during the American Civil War, but when he was asked to run a church meeting, he was brought up short. Where were the rules? The experience of that disorganized meeting inspired him to create his own Rules of Order. Robert's Rules of Order has been updated many times over the following century and a half; today we answer a question about a parliamentary question.
For a member of a deliberative assembly to call the question is to announce—in polite, parliamentary fashion—that he or she has heard enough debate and would like to proceed to a vote. To successfully call the question requires that the motion be seconded and approved by a two-thirds majority. As you might expect, calling the question does not allow for debate on whether the motion should proceed.
What happens once the question is called (or, as it is sometimes called, a motion is brought to cloture)? It depends on which edition of Robert's Rules the parliamentarians are reading. In Great Britain, consideration of the issue is postponed. In the U.S., debate resumes.