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
- Quorum (CongressionalGlossary.com)
- § 6.130, House Floor: Voting, § 6.190, Holds, Clearance, and Unanimous Consent, § 6.230, Cloture in Senate Floor Proceedings, in Congressional Deskbook
- Chapter 2.J. Submitting Legislation; Chapter 5.G. Quorum Calls; Chapter 5.H. Filibuster; in Congressional Procedure
- House Rule XX, Voting and Quorum Calls
- Senate Rule VI, Quorum – Absent Senators May Be Sent For
- “Voting and Quorum Procedures in the Senate,” CRS Report 96-452 (16-page PDF)
- “The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor: An Introduction,” CRS Report 96-548 (20-page PDF)
- “The Legislative Process on the House Floor: An Introduction,” CRS Report 95-563 (18-page PDF)
- “Germaneness of Debate in the Senate: The Pastore Rule,” CRS Report R45134 (14-page PDF)
- “Resolving Legislative Differences in the Congress: Conference Committees and Amendments Between the Houses,” CRS Report 98-696 (40-page PDF)
- “Quorum Requirements in the Senate: Committee and Chamber,” CRS Report 98-775 (4page PDF)
- “Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate,” CRS Report RL30360 (29-page PDF)
- “The Committee Markup Process in the House of Representatives,” CRS Report RL30244 (26-page PDF)
- “The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the House Floor,” CRS Report RL30725 (21-page PDF)
- Congressional Operations Briefing – Capitol Hill Workshop
- Drafting Federal Legislation and Amendments
- Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing
- Custom Training
- Drafting Effective Federal Legislation and Amendments in a Nutshell, Audio Course on CD
- Congress, the Legislative Process, and the Fundamentals of Lawmaking Series, a Nine-Course series on CD
Legislative Drafter’s Deskbook: A Practical Guide
Citizen’s Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials: A Guide for Citizen Lobbyists and Grassroots Advocates
CongressionalGlossary.com, from TheCapitol.Net
For more than 40 years, TheCapitol.Net and its predecessor, Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences, have been teaching professionals from government, military, business, and NGOs about the dynamics and operations of the legislative and executive branches and how to work with them.
Our custom on-site and online training, publications, and audio courses include congressional operations, legislative and budget process, communication and advocacy, media and public relations, testifying before Congress, research skills, legislative drafting, critical thinking and writing, and more.
TheCapitol.Net is on the GSA Schedule, MAS, for custom on-site and online training. GSA Contract GS02F0192X
TheCapitol.Net is a non-partisan small business.
Teaching how Washington and Congress work ™