Quorum Call (Congressional Glossary)

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Quorum Call

Mormon Battalion Monument, El Presidio Park, near Pima County Courthouse, Tucson, Arizona, by Ken Lund

Mormon Battalion Monument, El Presidio Park, near Pima County Courthouse, Tucson, Arizona, by Ken Lund

A call of the roll to establish whether a quorum is present.

If any senator “suggests the absence of a quorum,” the presiding officer must direct the roll to be called. Often, a quorum call is terminated by unanimous consent before completion, which permits the Senate to use the quorum call to obtain a brief delay to work out some difficulty or await a senator’s arrival. Quorum calls can last a few seconds, or they can last several hours. And, they can happen repeatedly throughout the day.

Bell (or buzzer) and light systems notify members of quorum calls, votes, and other proceedings in their chambers.

Also see Quorum; § 6.130, House Floor: Voting, § 6.190, Holds, Clearance, and Unanimous Consent, § 6.230, Cloture in Senate Floor Proceedings, in Congressional Deskbook.




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