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 — 218 in the House and 100 in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union; a quorum in the Senate is 51.

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.


McConnell Instructs Sergeant at Arms to Collect Absent Senators


Also see







Legislative Drafter's Deskbook: A Practical Guide

Legislative Drafter’s Deskbook: A Practical Guide

Pocket Constitution

Pocket Constitution

Citizen's Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials

Citizen’s Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials: A Guide for Citizen Lobbyists and Grassroots Advocates

Congressional Procedure

Congressional Procedure


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