Joint Session / Joint Meeting (CongressionalGlossary.com)

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Joint Session / Joint Meeting

Smoked Bacon Joint, by Annie Mole

Smoked Bacon Joint, by Annie Mole

Joint Session: When the House and Senate meet together to conduct formal business or to hear an address by the president of the United States. A formal meeting that occurs when both houses adopt a concurrent resolution. A joint session, for example, is usually what the sessions are called to count electoral votes and receive the State of the Union message.

The inauguration of the president is referred to as a joint gathering, although in recent years it has been held pursuant to concurrent resolution and thus would be a joint session. The Speaker of the House presides over both joint sessions and joint meetings, with one exception: the vice president as the president of the Senate or the president pro tempore of the Senate presides over the counting of electoral votes. The two chambers normally convene on the day of the joint meeting or joint session, and then recess to conduct the joint meeting or joint session in the House chamber after the Senate as a body proceeds across the Capitol to the House chamber.

A joint meeting occurs when each chamber agrees by unanimous consent to meet with the other chamber. Addresses by foreign dignitaries or special guests, as well as commemorative gatherings, occur in joint meetings.

Also see § 5.34, Joint Meetings and Joint Sessions, in Congressional Deskbook.

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