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A smaller number than a quorum may adjourn from day to day.
A quorum is never required to decide any question incidental to a call of the House.-Journal, 2, 53, p. 177.
A quorum is not required to order a call of the House, or dispense with further proceedings under a call.—Record, 2, 43, p. 1731.
A quorum was held to be required to discharge the Sergeantat-Arms from further proceeding on a warrant of arrest continued in force after the call of the House had terminated.Journal, 2, 53, pp. 318, 319.
During a call of the House, a quorum is not required to excuse a Member from attendance; nor to determine the question of reconsidering the vote by which a Member has been excused.-Journal, 2, 52, p. 77. But a quorum is required to grant a leave of absence.—Journal, 2, 53, pp. 327, 328. (See Call of House; Absent Members.) HOW ASCERTAINED.
The presence of a quorum is presumed unless the contrary is disclosed by some proceeding of the House appearing in the Journal.—Journal, 2, 52, p. 33.
Where the roll call discloses the absence of a quorum, the Chair can not go outside of the record in deciding as to the presence of a quorum.—Journal, 1, 44, p. 1078.
When a vote taken by yeas and nays shows that no quorum has voted, it is the duty of the Chair, under the Constitution (1, 5, 1, 5), to take notice of that fact.—Journal, 1, 48, pp. 1385, 1386.
After a vote taken upon a division tellers were demanded and refused.—Held, that it was then too late to make the point of no quorum.-Speaker Crisp, Journal, 2, 52, p. 53.
A vote having been taken upon a division, and thereupon the yeas and nays having been demanded and refused, it was held that the right to make the point of no quorum voting was thereby waived.—Journal, 2, 52, p. 58; 1, 53, p. 30.
When on a division either in the House or in Committee of the Whole the point is made that no quorum has voted, it is customary for the Chair to order the vote to be taken by tellers,
Where the vote as announced by tellers shows no quorum
voting and a motion to adjourn or for a call of the House is interjected and voted down, it is customary to take the vote by tellers on the original question de novo, instead of continuing the count of additional votes. Journal, 2, 52, p. 117.
Where the interruption, however, is very brief, and no confusion would thereby result, it would seem properly in the discretion of the Chair to permit the count to be continued where it was left off, instead of ordering an entire recount.
It appearing from the Journal that an order was made when, as appeared from the Journal, less than a quorum was present, such order should be treated as a nullity.-Journal, 3, 42, p. 447.
It is in order to move a call of the House, notwithstanding the fact that a quorum is actually present.—Speaker Crisp, Journal, 1, 52, p. 206.
If the failure of a quorum has been disclosed by a roll call, a quorum must appear of record before the House can proceed to business. (See Congressional Globe, 2, 30, p. 624.)
“If the point be raised, a gentleman addressing the Chair may be taken off the floor by any Member raising the point that no quorum is present. The question being so raised, the Chair, according to his judgment and on his own responsibility, can rule that no quorum is present. But when the roll call is resorted to, that is the last mode of certification, from which there is no appeal.”—Speaker Blaine, Congressional Record, 2, 43, p. 1733, February, 1875.' The practice of per: mitting a Member to be taken off the floor by the point of no quorum, which still prevails in Parliament and in the Senate, has, however, for many years, been abandoned in the House of Representatives.
Under the practice of the House of Representatives a Member can not, upon a point of no quorum, be deprived of his right to proceed. After the approval of the Journal the failure of a quorum is only taken notice of when the same is disclosed by a vote on some question or upon a call of the House.—Journal, 2, 53, pp. 226, 227.
Pending the consideration of the rules reported in the Fortysixth Congress, an amendment to the rules was submitted, viz:
Amend Rule VIII by inserting after clause 1 the following: Whenever a quorum fails to vote on any question, and objection is made for that cause, there shall be a call of the House, and the yeas and nays on the pending question shall at the same time be ordered. The clerk shall call the roll, and each Member, as he answers to his name, or is brought before the House under the proceedings of the call of the House, shall vote on the pending question. If those voting on the question and those who are present and decline to vote shall together make a majority of the House, the Speaker shall declare that a quorum is constituted, and the pending question shall be decided as a majority of those voting shall appear.
The proposed amendment never came to a vote, but was withdrawn by the mover.—Cong. Record, 1, 46, January 28, 1876.
Previous to the Fifty-first Congress the record of the vote on the roll call upon a demand for the yeas and nays had invariably been held conclusive of the question of quorum (See Cong. Record, 2, 43, p. 1734; Journal, 1, 44, p. 1078; 1, 18, pp. 1385, 1386); and if a quorum was not disclosed as voting no business could be transacted until a quorum appeared of record, the pending question meanwhile remaining statu quo.
On the 29th of January, 1890, upon the roll call of the yeas and nays failing to disclose a quorum, the Speaker, Mr. Reed, stated that certain other Members, naming them, were present who had not voted, and directed that their names be entered on the Journal as present, and held that they should be counted as constituting, with the Members who had voted, a quorum of the House, and that the question voted on was carried in the affirmative.-Cong. Record, 1, 51, 949–951.
This decision of the Speaker was made before the adoption of new rules by that House, and was conceded to be without precedent in either House of Congress.
From this ruling an appeal was taken and debated for two days, but no direct vote was ever taken in the House on sustaining the decision of the Chair. The appeal was, however, laid on the table on a vote by yeas and nays; a quorum not voting, but being supplemented in the same manner as was done in the ruling appealed from.—Cong. Record, 1, 51, p. 994.
[See remarks of Mr. Crisp, Mr. Carlisle, Mr. Cannon, Mr. McKinley, Mr. Turner of Georgia, and Mr. Butterworth upon the appeal from the Speaker's decision.-Cong. Record, 1, 51, pp. 949–960, 980–993.]
The rules afterwards adopted by the Fifty-first Congress authorized the Speaker to cause to be entered on the Journal the names of those present and not voting, and permitted such
Members to be counted in determining the question of quorum; and in United States v. Ballin (144 U. S. Sup. Ct. Rep., page 1) the Supreme Court decide that this rule is a constitutional mode of ascertaining the presence of a quorum.
This provision for counting a quorum was omitted from the rules of the Fifty-second Congress adopted February 3, 1892 (see Journal, 1, 52, p. 57), and the former practice restored, the roll of those voting being held conclusive as to the presence or absence of a quorum. This practice was continued in the Fifty-third Congress until April 17, 1894 (second session), when the House adopted as clause 2 of Rule XV the following:
Upon every roll call, and before the beginning thereof, the Speaker shall name two Members, one from each side of the pending question, if practicable, who shall take their places at the Clerk's desk to tell the names of at least enough Members who are in the Hall of the House during the roll call who do not respond, when added to those responding, to make a quorum. If a quorum does not respond on the roll call, then the names of those so noted as present shall be reported to the Speaker, who shall cause the list to be called from the Clerk's desk and recorded in the Journal; and in determining the presence of a quorum to do business those who voted, those who answered present, and those so reported present shall be considered. Members noted may, when their names are called, record their votes, notwithstanding the provisions of clause 1 of this rule.
Under this new provision Members present and failing to vote may be included in the count in determining the presence of a quorum; the difference between this method and that prevailing in the Fifty-first Congress being, in substance, that the Members not voting are reported by tellers, instead of being indicated by the Speaker.
Under this rule the roll is called twice, as provided in clause 1, before the tellers are required to report the names of members present and failing to vote.—Journal 2, 53, p. 338.
READING OF PAPERS.
“ Where papers are laid before the House, or referred to a committee, every Member has a right to have them once read at the table before he can be compelled to vote on them" (Manual, p. 146), and this applies to the reading of papers on a motion to refer them.-Journal, 1, 34, p. 1146. And so, in regard to any proposition submitted for a vote of the Eouse; but it being a right derived from the rules, he may at any time (when a motion to suspend the rules is in order) be deprived of it by a suspension of the rules.-Journals, 1, 32, p. 1116; 3, 34, p. 618 ; 2, 35, p. 572; 2, 38, pp. 397, 398.
The reading of a report relating to a pending proposition can not be called for after the previous question is seconded, as it would be in the nature of debate.--Journal, 1, 23, p. 726. If there had been no debate before the previous question was ordered, the report might, of course, be read in the thirty minutes allowed by Rule XVII, clause 1.
When the reading of a paper other than one upon which the House is called to give a final vote is demanded, and the same is objected to by any Member, it shall be determined without debate by a vote of the House.-Rule XXXI.
[The rule above recited is not construed to apply to the single reading of a paper or proposition upon which the House may be called upon to give a vote, or to the several regular readings of a bill, but to cases where a paper has been once read, or a bill has received its regular reading and another is called for, and also where a Member desires the reading of a paper having relation to the subject before the House.)
It is not in order to demand the reading of the engrossed bill at length upon presentation of a conference report.-Journal, 1, 44, p. 1423.
A bill having been read twice and ordered to be engrossed, and having been read (pursuant to the rule, by its title) a third time, and the yeas and nays having been ordered on the question of its passage, it is too late to demand the reading at length of the engrossed bill.—Journal, 1, 52, p. 225.
Upon a motion to recommit a report the reading of the testimony upon which it is based can not be demanded as of right.—Journal, 2, 50, p. 571.
The reading of a message from the President may be demanded as a matter of right, but not the reading of documents accompanying the message.—Journal, 2, 53, p. 41.
A Member having leave to make a personal explanation proceeds to read or have read a paper, when the point is made that the paper is disrespectful to the House and its reading should, therefore, not be continued. Held, That it is the privi