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Remains on the table

Posted by Smokey Stover on July 05, 2007

In Reply to: Remains on the table posted by Victoria S Dennis on July 05, 2007

: : Is this a correct saying (in quotes) and what does it mean exactly? ... the argument, advice "remains on the table"

: The basic metaphor here is of bringing a proposal, appeal, argument or whatever to the attention of a meeting, board or assembly by laying it (imagine it as a written document) on the conference table. If the matter "remains on the table" it means it has neither been fully accepted or rejected (in which case it could be removed and filed away) but has still to be dealt with. (VSD)

It has been a while since I read Rogert's Rules of Order, but in the U.S. (which I believe differs in this respect somewhat from Gr.Br.) something first gets on the table by someone saying, "I move to lay it on the table," "it" being the motion under consideration. If the majority votes to "lay it on the table," it is postponed, taken out of consideration (remains on the table) until someone moves to take it off the table. Another way of saying it is that "the motion has been tabled."

In British practice, something "on the table" is under active consideration, if I understand correctly. And if I don't, someone is sure to say so. I'm guessing that Mr. Jones' source is British, and that "remains on the table" means that the argument remains under consideration.