Procedurally, the Committee of the Whole differs from the House of Representatives even though they have identical membership. The Committee of the Whole only requires 100 members for a quorum, while only 25 members are required to force a recorded rather than voice vote. In the version of the Committee of the Whole that existed in the British House of Commons, the original use of this committee was to debate bills privately and prevent a recorded vote from being taken. It is normally invoked to give initial consideration of important legislation, including bills for raising revenue, and serves to expedite the process since debate over amendment occurs under a special five-minute rule. The House and the Committee of the Whole do not operate at the same time; rather, to consider bills, the House must resolve itself into the Committee of the Whole. To dissolve itself, the Committee of the Whole must "rise and report with a recommendation". The Committee of the Whole can recommend amendments to any bill. The House must then approve these amendments before the amendments are added to the final bill.
It allows bills and resolutions to be considered without adhering to all the formal rules of a House session, such as needing a quorum of 218. All measures on the Union Calendar must be considered first by the Committee of the Whole .
In 1993, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), along with the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico and the delegates from Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa, received a limited vote in the Committee of the Whole, based on their right to vote in legislative committees. However, this limited vote stipulated if any of the delegates provided the deciding vote on an issue considered by the Committee of the Whole, a new vote would be conducted and the delegates would not be allowed to vote. The right of delegates to vote in Committee of the Whole was removed by the Republican majority in 1995 after that party gained control of Congress in the 1994 congressional elections. In January 2007, it was proposed by Democrats in the House that the 1993-1994 procedure be revived. The House approved the proposal with the adoption of H.Res. 78 by a vote of 226-191.