[House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House]
[Chapter 43. Quorums]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]


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                          CHAPTER 43 - QUORUMS

                              HOUSE PRACTICE

              A. Generally; Quorum Requirements

  Sec.  1. In General
  Sec.  2. What Constitutes a Quorum
  Sec.  3. Business Requiring a Quorum; Effect of Quorum Failure
  Sec.  4. Motions Requiring a Quorum
  Sec.  5. The Count to Determine a Quorum

              B. Points of Order of No Quorum

  Sec.  6. When in Order; Former and Modern Practice Distinguished
  Sec.  7. Objections to Vote Taken in Absence of Quorum
  Sec.  8. Timeliness and Diligence in Raising Objections
  Sec.  9. When Dilatory; Effect of Prior Count
  Sec. 10. Withdrawal of Point of Order

              C. Quorum Calls

  Sec. 11. In General
  Sec. 12. The Motion for a Call
  Sec. 13. The Call to Compel Attendance of Absent Members
  Sec. 14. The Automatic Call
  Sec. 15. Use of Electronic Equipment
  Sec. 16. Names Published and Recorded on a Call
  Sec. 17. Quorum Calls in Committee of the Whole
  Sec. 18. Motions in Order During the Call
  Sec. 19. Securing Attendance; Arrests
  Sec. 20. Dispensing With Further Proceedings
        Research References
          U.S. Const. art. I, Sec. 5
          4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 2884-3055
          6 Cannon Sec. Sec. 638-707
          Deschler Ch 20
          Manual Sec. Sec. 982, 1014-1029

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                     A. Generally; Quorum Requirements


  Sec. 1 . In General

              Constitutional Requirements and the House Rules

      Under the Constitution, a majority of each House constitutes a 
  quorum to do business, although a smaller number may adjourn from day 
  to day or compel the attendance of absent Members. U.S. Const. art. I, 
  Sec. 5, cl. 1. Because the presence of a quorum is a constitutional 
  requirement, and because a point of order of no quorum is the only 
  method available to a Member to enforce that requirement, the Speaker 
  has been reluctant to withhold recognition for a point of order of no 
  quorum when raised in accordance with the rules of the House. Deschler 
  Ch 20 Sec. Sec. 14.2, 14.3. Quorum requirements for committees, see 
  Committees.
      The Constitution does not further define those legislative 
  proceedings that are to constitute ``business'' for purposes of the 
  quorum requirement. ``Business'' in this context has become a term of 
  art that, under the House rules and precedents, does not encompass all 
  parliamentary proceedings. For example, the prayer, administration of 
  the oath, certain motions incidental to a call of the House, and an 
  adjournment do not constitute business requiring a quorum. Deschler Ch 
  20 Sec. 18 (note 10). Indeed, rule XX clause 7(a) specifically 
  prohibits the entertainment of a point of order of no quorum unless a 
  question has been put to a vote. See Sec. 3, infra. The House has 
  determined by adopting such a rule that the mere conduct of debate, 
  where the Chair has not put the pending proposition to a vote, is not 
  ``conducting business'' under article I, section 5, clause 1 of the 
  Constitution. Because the adoption of such a rule is viewed by the 
  House as a proper exercise of its rule-making authority under article 
  I, section 5, clause 2 of the Constitution, there is no constitutional 
  basis for a point of order of no quorum during debate in the House. 
  Manual Sec. 1029.

                Presumptions as to the Presence of a Quorum

      A quorum is presumed to be present unless a point of no quorum is 
  entertained and the Chair announces that a quorum is in fact not 
  present or unless the absence of a quorum is disclosed by a vote or by 
  a call of the House. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 1. Although it is not the 
  duty of the Chair to take cognizance of the absence of a quorum unless 
  otherwise disclosed, failure of a quorum to participate in a record 
  vote cannot be ignored. The Chair must announce that fact although it 
  was not objected to from the floor. 4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 2953, 2963; 6 
  Cannon Sec. Sec. 565, 624; Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 1.

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  Sec. 2 . What Constitutes a Quorum

      A quorum of the House is defined as a majority of those Members 
  sworn and living, whose membership has not been terminated by 
  resignation or by House action. Manual Sec. 53; 4 Hinds 
  Sec. Sec. 2889, 2890; 6 Cannon Sec. 638; Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 1; 
  Sec. 5, infra. Thus, when there are no vacancies, a quorum to do 
  business is 218 Members. When the membership has been reduced by 
  reason of death, resignation, expulsion, disqualification, or removal 
  to 432, a quorum to do business is 217 Members. 94-2, June 18, 1976, p 
  19312. This long-standing practice was codified in the 108th Congress 
  by adoption of rule XX clause 5(c). Clause 5(c) also requires the 
  Speaker to announce the reduced whole number of the House, which is 
  not subject to appeal. In the case of a death, the Speaker may lay 
  before the House such documentation from Federal, State, or local 
  officials as he deems pertinent.
      Under rule XVIII clause 6(a), a quorum in the Committee of the 
  Whole is 100 Members. Manual Sec. 982. The quorum required in the 
  House as in the Committee of the Whole is a quorum of the House and 
  not a quorum of the Committee of the Whole. 6 Cannon Sec. 639.


  Sec. 3 . Business Requiring a Quorum; Effect of Quorum Failure

                                In General

      In Jefferson's time, the Chair was not taken until a quorum for 
  business was present. Manual Sec. 310. Under the early practice, a 
  quorum was required during debate (4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 2935-2939) and 
  for other routine activities of the House, such as the reading of the 
  Journal (4 Hinds Sec. 2733), the consideration of committee reports (4 
  Hinds Sec. 2947), and the calling up of measures (4 Hinds Sec. 2943).
      Under the modern practice, the Speaker takes the Chair at the hour 
  to which the House has adjourned, and there is no requirement that the 
  House proceed immediately to establish a quorum. Manual Sec. Sec. 310, 
  621. Although the Speaker has the authority to recognize for a motion 
  for a call of the House at any time, a point of order of no quorum 
  does not lie in the House unless the Speaker has put the pending 
  question to a vote. Rule XX clause 7(a); Manual Sec. 1027; Sec. 12, 
  infra. Accordingly, for example, the Chair may not entertain a point 
  of order of no quorum during debate in the House or during the 
  offering of the prayer or the administration of the oath.
      The pendency of a unanimous-consent request in the House is not 
  equivalent to the Chair's putting a pending question to a vote and 
  does not permit a point of order of no quorum under rule XX clause 
  7(a). Deschler-Brown Ch 29 Sec. 23.13.

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                  Business Precluded in Absence of Quorum

      The House cannot conduct business after the absence of a quorum 
  has been announced. Manual Sec. 55; Deschler Ch 20 Sec. Sec. 1.5, 
  10.4. This includes business by unanimous consent. Manual Sec. 1025. 
  Even the Member who made the point of order of no quorum cannot then 
  withdraw it by unanimous consent, as such a request would constitute 
  business. 4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 2928-2931; 6 Cannon Sec. 657; Deschler Ch 
  20 Sec. 10.4 (note). For example, where the announced absence of a 
  quorum has resulted in a vote by the yeas and nays under rule XX 
  clause 6, the House may not, even by unanimous consent, vacate the 
  vote in order to conduct another voice vote in lieu of the record 
  vote.
      When the House authorizes the Speaker under rule XX clause 5 to 
  compel the attendance of absent Members, the Speaker requests the 
  Sergeant-at-Arms to proceed with necessary and efficacious steps to 
  secure a quorum. The Speaker then announces that, pending the 
  establishment of a quorum, no further business, including unanimous-
  consent requests for recess authority, may be entertained. Manual 
  Sec. 1025.
      If a quorum does not respond on a call of the House or on a record 
  vote, even the most highly privileged business must terminate. 4 Hinds 
  Sec. 2934; 6 Cannon Sec. 662. The House then has only two 
  alternatives, to wit: to adjourn or to continue the proceedings under 
  a pending call of the House until a quorum of record is obtained. 
  Deschler Ch 20 Sec. Sec. 10.10-10.12. If a call of the House is 
  ordered, the House must first secure a quorum before disposing of the 
  pending matter de novo. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. Sec. 10.5-10.7.


  Sec. 4 . Motions Requiring a Quorum

                                In General

      Under rule XX clause 7(a), the putting of a question to a vote 
  triggers the admissibility of a point of order of no quorum, thereby 
  permitting the Speaker to entertain a point of order of no quorum if 
  the motion is one that requires a quorum for adoption. Manual 
  Sec. 1027. Thus, a Member may make a point of order of no quorum when 
  the Speaker has put the question on a motion to suspend the rules. 
  However, where the Speaker postpones further proceedings on a motion 
  to suspend the rules, the question is no longer being put to a vote 
  for purposes of permitting a point of order of no quorum until the 
  question recurs as unfinished business. Manual Sec. 1026.

                  Motions Incident to a Call of the House

      The motion for a call of the House, or a motion incidental to a 
  call of the House, does not require a quorum for adoption. Manual 
  Sec. 1025;

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  Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 2.8. Under rule XX clause 7(b), further 
  proceedings are considered dispensed with when a quorum is established 
  pursuant to the call unless the Speaker recognizes for a motion to 
  compel attendance of Members. Manual Sec. 1028. For a discussion of 
  motions in order during a call of the House, see Manual Sec. 1024.

                           The Motion to Adjourn

      A quorum is not required on an affirmative vote on a simple motion 
  to adjourn. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. Sec. 8.7, 8.8. However, a point of no 
  quorum on a negative vote on adjournment is in order and, if 
  sustained, precipitates a call of the House. Manual Sec. 1025; 6 
  Cannon Sec. 700; Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 8.13.
      A quorum is required for the adoption of a motion that when the 
  House adjourns that day it adjourn to a day and time certain. Manual 
  Sec. 913. A quorum also is required on a concurrent resolution 
  providing for adjournment sine die but not on a motion to adjourn that 
  implements such a concurrent resolution. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. Sec. 8.9, 
  8.10.

                            The Motion to Rise

      A quorum is not required on an affirmative vote on a simple motion 
  that the Committee of the Whole rise (see Sec. 6, infra), but a 
  negative voice vote or division vote permits a point of no quorum 
  pending the demand for a recorded vote. See Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 16.7. 
  A quorum is required on an affirmative vote on a motion to rise and 
  report. 4 Hinds Sec. 2973.


  Sec. 5 . The Count to Determine a Quorum

             Counting Those Present Together With Those Voting

      Until 1890 the view prevailed in the House that it was necessary 
  for a majority of the Members to vote on a matter submitted to the 
  House in order to satisfy the constitutional requirement for a quorum. 
  Under that practice the opposition might break a quorum simply by 
  refusing to vote. 4 Hinds Sec. 2977. That practice was changed in 1890 
  with the historic ruling by Speaker Reed, later embodied in rule XX 
  clause 4(b), that Members present in the Chamber but not voting would 
  be counted in determining the presence of a quorum. Manual Sec. 1020; 
  4 Hinds Sec. 2895; Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 3. This ruling was upheld by 
  the Supreme Court in United States v. Ballin, 144 U.S. 1 (1892), the 
  Court declaring that the authority of the House to transact business 
  is ``created by the mere presence of a majority.'' Since 1890, the 
  point of order as to the absence of a quorum is that no quorum is 
  present, not that no quorum has voted. 4 Hinds Sec. 2917.
      A quorum may be expressed as a fraction in which the numerator is 
  the number of Members who are present and the denominator is the 
  number

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  of Members who are extant. As the issue in Ballin was Speaker Reed's 
  method of counting the number of Members present, the decision of the 
  Supreme Court addressed the numerator of this fraction. In dictum the 
  Court examined the question ``how shall the presence of a majority be 
  determined?'' and observed that, because the Constitution does not 
  prescribe any method for determining the presence of such majority, it 
  is within the competency of the House ``to prescribe any method which 
  shall be reasonably certain to ascertain the fact.'' In 1906, 
  consistent with the dictum in Ballin, Speaker Cannon employed the 
  still-current method of counting the number of Members extant. After 
  reviewing the perspectives of his predecessors across the 19th century 
  and with special regard for the considered judgment of the Senate on 
  the same question (Senate rule VI), Speaker Cannon held that once the 
  House is organized for a Congress ``a quorum consists of a majority of 
  those Members chosen, sworn, and living, whose membership has not been 
  terminated by resignation or by the action of the House.'' 4 Hinds 
  Sec. 2890; 6 Cannon Sec. 638.
      Under rule XX clause 5(c) (adopted in the 108th Congress), upon 
  the death, resignation, expulsion, disqualification, or removal of a 
  Member, the Speaker announces any adjustment to the whole number of 
  the House. Such an announcement is not subject to appeal. In the case 
  of a death, the Speaker may lay before the House such documentation 
  from Federal, State, or local officials as he deems pertinent. See 
  Sec. 2, supra.

                            Method of Counting

      Speaker Reed also ruled in 1890 that it was the function of the 
  Speaker to determine the presence of a quorum in such manner as he 
  should determine accurate and suitable by the Chair's own count or by 
  various other methods. 4 Hinds Sec. 2932. Under rule XX, the Speaker 
  may direct the use of the electronic system in the Chamber to record 
  the names of the Members voting or present. Manual Sec. 1014. In lieu 
  of using the electronic system (if, for example, there is a 
  malfunction in the electronic system), the Speaker in his discretion 
  may direct that the presence of Members be recorded by clerks or he 
  may direct that a quorum call be taken by an alphabetical call of the 
  roll. Manual Sec. Sec. 1015, 1019.
      Under rule XX clause 4(b), the Chair may count Members who are 
  present and do not vote as follows:

     Members who are visible, including those behind the railing. 
         Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 3.6.
     Members in the process of leaving the Chamber. Deschler Ch 20 
         Sec. 3.5.
     Himself. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 3.7.


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      However, the Chair may not count the following Members:

     Members in the cloakrooms out of sight. Deschler Ch 20 
         Sec. 3.10.
     Members entering the Chamber after the Chair announces the 
         result of the quorum call. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. Sec. 3.11-3.13.

      In any case, the Chair's count of a quorum is conclusive and may 
  not be challenged on appeal. Manual Sec. 629.
      The number of Members present for the purpose of determining the 
  absence of a quorum may be established by a count of the number of 
  Members voting on a pending proposition. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 2.13. 
  However, the Chair's count of those Members standing on a division 
  vote in the House does not demonstrate the absence of a quorum because 
  the Chair, in taking such a vote, does not count all Members present 
  in the Chamber but only those standing. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 2.18.

                                 Recounts

      When the Chair is counting to determine if a quorum is present, he 
  may recount the House before announcing the result of his count. Such 
  recount may be in response to a statement of a Member that more 
  Members had entered the Chamber since the first count, thereby 
  establishing a quorum. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 3.18.


                      B. Points of Order of No Quorum


  Sec. 6 . When in Order; Former and Modern Practice Distinguished

                               In the House

      Under the former practice, a point of no quorum was in order in 
  the House at any time, even when a Member had the floor in debate. 
  Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 13.8. The right of the Member to the floor was 
  suspended until a quorum was secured. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 13.9. A 
  point of no quorum could interrupt the reading of the Journal or the 
  reading of a resolution, even though the resolution was privileged for 
  consideration. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. Sec. 13.11, 13.12, 13.14.
      Under the modern practice, the use of points of order of no quorum 
  in the House has been sharply curtailed. Under rule XX clause 7(a), a 
  point of no quorum is not in order unless a question has been put to a 
  vote, notwithstanding the failure of a quorum to have voted on a prior 
  item of business no longer pending. 95-1, Sept. 16, 1977, p 29563. 
  Therefore, a point of order of no quorum may not be made during the 
  offering of the prayer, the administration of the oath, the reception 
  of messages from the President

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  or the Senate, the reading of the Journal, or special orders. The 
  refusal of the Chair to entertain a point of order of no quorum where 
  prohibited by clause 7(a) is not subject to appeal. Manual Sec. 629. 
  Furthermore, the Chair will not entertain a unanimous-consent request 
  to waive the provisions of rule XX clause 7(a). 93-2, Dec. 9, 1974, p 
  38664.

                         In Committee of the Whole

      A similarly restrictive rule applies to points of order of no 
  quorum in the Committee of the Whole. Rule XVIII clause 6(b) states 
  that, ``after a quorum has once been established on a day,'' the Chair 
  may not entertain a point of order that a quorum is not present unless 
  the Committee is operating under the five-minute rule and the Chair 
  has put the pending question to a vote. Manual Sec. 982. A Member may 
  make a point of order of no quorum while the Chair is counting those 
  standing in the Committee to support a demand for a recorded vote and 
  before the Chair's final announcement of the count. At that point the 
  Chair must immediately begin counting for a quorum, and the request 
  for a recorded vote remains pending following the establishment of a 
  quorum. Manual Sec. 1012. The Chair will resume his count for a 
  recorded vote when the requesting Member withdraws his point of order 
  of no quorum (which is the usual practice).
      The restriction of rule XVIII clause 6 against making a point of 
  order of no quorum ``after a quorum has once been established on a 
  day'' means on that day during consideration of the pending bill, 
  because the House resolves itself into a new Committee of the Whole on 
  each bill, with a new Chairman. Manual Sec. 982. The rule restricting 
  points of order of no quorum in the Committee after a quorum has once 
  been established is applicable whether the quorum was established by a 
  regular quorum call or a ``short'' quorum call. 95-2, June 8, 1978, p 
  16778. For a discussion of a regular quorum call and a short quorum 
  call, see Sec. 17, infra.
      Although a point of order of no quorum may be raised during 
  general debate in the Committee of the Whole, the Chair is given the 
  discretion to entertain it under rule XVIII clause 6(b). Manual 
  Sec. 982.
      A point of order of no quorum does not lie in the Committee 
  against the adoption of a motion that the Committee rise, because that 
  motion (as distinguished from the motion to rise and report) does not 
  require a quorum for adoption. Rule XVIII clause 6(d); 4 Hinds 
  Sec. Sec. 2972, 2975.

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  Sec. 7 . Objections to Vote Taken in Absence of Quorum

                               In the House

      The rules of the House permit a Member to object to a vote taken 
  in the absence of a quorum. An objection to such a vote under rule XX 
  clause 6, if timely made, necessarily precipitates a call of the House 
  (unless the House adjourns) and, simultaneously, a vote by the yeas 
  and nays on the pending question. Manual Sec. 1025.
      The objection to a vote permitted by rule XX clause 6 applies only 
  to votes on questions requiring a quorum. Thus, an objection may not 
  be raised under the rule to an affirmative vote on a motion to adjourn 
  or to a vote on a motion incidental to a call of the House, neither of 
  which requires a quorum for adoption. 4 Hinds Sec. 2994; 6 Cannon 
  Sec. 681; Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 2.
      For further discussion of the ``automatic'' vote by the yeas and 
  nays that ensues under rule XX clause 6, see Sec. 14, infra.

                          Effect of Postponement

      When a Member objects to a vote on the ground that a quorum is not 
  present, and further proceedings are postponed under rule XX clause 8 
  or by unanimous consent, the Speaker puts the question de novo when 
  the measure is again before the House as unfinished business. Members 
  then have the same right to object on that ground as when the question 
  was originally put. Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 3.18. When further proceedings 
  are postponed, the Speaker announces that the point of order that a 
  quorum is not present is considered as withdrawn because the point of 
  order is no longer in order (a question not being pending after the 
  Speaker's announcement of postponement). Manual Sec. 1026. In the 
  Committee of the Whole, when proceedings resume on a request for a 
  recorded vote on an amendment postponed under rule XVIII clause 6(g), 
  the voice vote is acknowledged and the request is announced as 
  pending. At this time, a point of order of no quorum may be made.


  Sec. 8 . Timeliness and Diligence in Raising Objections

                                In General

      An objection to a vote because of the absence of a quorum must be 
  timely raised. Such an objection comes too late when the Speaker has 
  announced the result of the vote and a motion to reconsider has been 
  laid on

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  the table. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. Sec. 13.23, 13.24. However, such 
  objections have been held to be timely and in order when they were 
  made:

     After the Chair announced his opinion that the noes on a voice 
         vote prevailed but before the House proceeded to other 
         business. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 13.16.
     After a parliamentary inquiry that immediately followed the 
         announcement of the result of a voice or division vote. 6 
         Cannon Sec. 698; Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 13.18.
     After a refusal of a demand for the yeas and nays following a 
         division vote. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 13.19.
     After a sufficient number have risen to order the yeas and 
         nays but before the start of the vote. Deschler Ch 20 
         Sec. 13.1.

                     Timeliness in Seeking Recognition

      An objection to a voice vote on the ground that a quorum is not 
  present is timely even after the Chair announces the vote if the 
  Member was on his feet seeking recognition at the time the question 
  was put. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 13.1. However, the Speaker may decline to 
  recognize a Member to object to a vote because of the absence of a 
  quorum where the Member has not shown the proper diligence in seeking 
  recognition. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 13.26. In order to raise such an 
  objection, a Member must be on his feet and actively seeking 
  recognition when the Chair announces the result of the vote. Deschler 
  Ch 20 Sec. 13.25. The mere fact that a Member is on his feet does not 
  constitute notice to the Chair that he is seeking recognition to make 
  such an objection. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 13.2.


  Sec. 9 . When Dilatory; Effect of Prior Count

                                In General

      Although the presence of a quorum is a constitutional requirement, 
  and the Speaker has on occasion expressed reluctance to hold a point 
  of order of no quorum dilatory for that reason, it has long been 
  recognized as within the prerogative of the Chair to refuse to 
  entertain a point of no quorum if he determines that it was made for 
  the sole purpose of delay where the presence of a quorum, as evidenced 
  by an immediately preceding vote or quorum call, is apparent. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. Sec. 5724, 5725; 8 Cannon Sec. 2808; Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 14. 
  Since rule XVIII and rule XX were amended to restrict recognition for 
  points of no quorum, the use of repeated points of order as a dilatory 
  tactic has lost its efficacy. Under rule XVIII clause 6 and rule XX 
  clause 7(a), the Chair may not entertain a point of no quorum unless a 
  question has been put to a vote.

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  Sec. 10 . Withdrawal of Point of Order

      A point of order that a quorum is not present may be withdrawn, 
  provided the absence of a quorum has not been announced by the Chair; 
  and such withdrawal does not require unanimous consent. Deschler Ch 20 
  Sec. 18.5. A point of order of no quorum is considered withdrawn where 
  the Chair exercises any postponement authority under rule XVIII clause 
  6(g) or rule XX clause 8. Manual Sec. Sec. 984, 1026.
      A point of no quorum may not be withdrawn after the absence of a 
  quorum has been announced by the Chair (4 Hinds Sec. 2928-2930; 6 
  Cannon Sec. 657; Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 18), even where the Member making 
  the point of order attempted to withdraw it but was not observed by 
  the Chair (103-1, June 10, 1993, p 12481). The point may not then be 
  withdrawn even by unanimous consent, because the House may not conduct 
  business, including the disposition of unanimous-consent requests, in 
  the announced absence of a quorum. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 18.7. The same 
  rule is followed in the Committee of the Whole. Deschler Ch 20 
  Sec. 18.6.
      A point of no quorum may not be reserved or withheld after the 
  Chair has announced that a quorum is not present, no business being in 
  order until a quorum is established. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. Sec. 18.10, 
  18.11.


                             C. Quorum Calls 


  Sec. 11 . In General

                               In the House

      A motion for a call of the House is recognized under general 
  parliamentary law and under the Constitution. 4 Hinds Sec. 2981. The 
  Constitution authorizes a number smaller than a quorum to compel the 
  attendance of absent Members. U.S. Const. art. I, Sec. 5.
      Rule XX authorizes three separate procedures for a call of the 
  House. They are as follows:

     The call of the House under clause 6 whenever objection is 
         raised to a vote taken in the absence of a quorum. Manual 
         Sec. 1025. This call is sometimes referred to as an 
         ``automatic'' call because it proceeds by operation of the rule 
         and does not require a motion. See Sec. 14, infra.
     The call of the House under clause 7(b), which permits the 
         Speaker in his discretion to recognize for a motion for acall 
         of the House at any time. See Sec. 12, infra.

[[Page 742]]

     The call of the House under clause 5 that is used in the 
         absence of a quorum to compel the attendance of absent Members. 
         The Speaker may recognize for that motion, which must be 
         adopted by a majority comprising at least 15 Members. See 
         Sec. 13, infra. The call under this clause is sometimes 
         referred to as the ``old'' form of the call, clause 5 having 
         been first adopted in 1789.

      Rule XX clause 5, enabling 15 Members to order a call of the 
  House, dates from the earliest Congresses, and for many years was the 
  only rule for procuring the attendance of Members. 4 Hinds Sec. 2982. 
  The automatic call of the House under clause 6, having been provided 
  for by rule in 1896, is described as the call of the House in the new 
  form. It supersedes the old form of the call except in cases in which 
  the absence of a quorum is established by some means other than a 
  vote. 4 Hinds Sec. 3041. The call of the House on motion under clause 
  5 or clause 7(b) is in order at the Chair's discretion. On the other 
  hand, the automatic call under clause 6 ensues while the House is 
  voting. Manual Sec. Sec. 1021-1025; 4 Hinds Sec. 2990. Indeed, clause 
  5 should be read in light of clause 7(a), which prohibits the Speaker 
  from entertaining a point of no quorum unless a question has been put 
  to a vote , and clause 7(b), which gives the Speaker discretion to 
  recognize for a call of the House at any time. Manual Sec. Sec. 1027, 
  1028.

                         In Committee of the Whole

      The provisions of rule XX clauses 5, 6, and 7, relating to quorum 
  calls in the House, do not apply in Committee of the Whole. 
  Accordingly, although a point of order that a quorum is not present 
  will lie in the Committee of the Whole when a question is put, a 
  Member may not object to a vote in the Committee on the ground that a 
  quorum is not present. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 16.1; Sec. 6, supra. In the 
  Committee of the Whole, the quorum call and the vote occur seriatim 
  and not simultaneously as they do in the House under rule XX clause 6. 
  The requirement of, and the procedures for, obtaining a quorum in 
  Committee of the Whole are found in rule XVIII clause 6.


  Sec. 12 . The Motion for a Call

      Under rule XX clause 7(b), a motion for a call of the House is 
  permitted at any time subject to clause 7(c). Clause 7(c) precludes 
  such motion after the previous question has been ordered unless the 
  Speaker determines by actual count that a quorum is not present. A 
  motion for a call of the House is in order notwithstanding language in 
  rule XX clause 7(a) that a point of order of no quorum may not be 
  entertained unless the Speaker has put a pending question to a vote. 
  Manual Sec. Sec. 1027-1029. Under this rule,

[[Page 743]]

  the Speaker may at any time in his discretion recognize a Member to 
  offer the motion. Thus, the Speaker may refuse recognition. Manual 
  Sec. 1029. The motion is privileged if entertained by the Chair. It 
  may be entertained after another Member has been recognized but before 
  he has begun his remarks. Deschler-Brown Ch 29 Sec. 23.15. When a 
  Member is under recognition for debate, another Member may be 
  recognized to move a call of the House only if yielded to for that 
  purpose. 105-2, July 23, 1998, p ____. The motion is not debatable. 6 
  Cannon Sec. Sec. 683, 688.
      If the motion is rejected, the House proceeds with business. 
  Deschler-Brown Ch 29 Sec. 20.20. However, if the motion is adopted by 
  a record vote, and a quorum is established thereby, a call of the 
  House must proceed unless rescinded by unanimous consent. 94-1, Oct. 
  22, 1975, p 33688.


  Sec. 13 . The Call to Compel Attendance of Absent Members

                                In General

      Rule XX clause 5 authorizes a motion for a call to compel the 
  attendance of absent Members when the call is ordered by at least 15 
  Members (including the Speaker). Recognition for the motion is within 
  the Speaker's discretion, and the motion may not be adopted by fewer 
  than 15 affirmative votes. Unless that number is present, the motion 
  for the call is not entertained. 4 Hinds Sec. 2983. The motion 
  requires a majority vote for adoption, and a minority of 15 (or more) 
  favoring the call is not sufficient. 4 Hinds Sec. 2984.
      If a majority votes to compel attendance under this rule, 
  absentees are notified. Manual Sec. 1021. Warrants may be issued by 
  order of a majority of those present, and those for whom no sufficient 
  excuse is made may be arrested by the Sergeant-at-Arms. Sec. 19, 
  infra. Members who appear voluntarily are admitted to the Hall and 
  report their names to the Clerk to be entered on the Journal as 
  present. Manual Sec. 1021.
      When a call of the House is ordered under this rule, the Speaker 
  may direct the taking of the call by electronic device or by a call of 
  the roll. Manual Sec. Sec. 1014, 1015. A motion to adjourn takes 
  precedence over a call of the House. 8 Cannon Sec. 2642.
      Under the modern practice, clause 5 is seldom used. It should be 
  read in light of rule XX clause 7(a), which precludes a point of order 
  of no quorum except when the Chair has put a question to a vote, and 
  clause 7(b), which gives the Speaker discretion to recognize for a 
  call of the House at any time. Manual Sec. Sec. 1027, 1028.

[[Page 744]]

  Sec. 14 . The Automatic Call

                                In General

      Under rule XX clause 6, a call of the House ensues whenever a 
  quorum fails to vote on any question that requires a quorum (assuming 
  that the House does not adjourn), if in fact a quorum is not present 
  and objection to the vote is made for that reason. The rule provides 
  for a call of the House and states that the yeas and nays on the 
  pending question ``shall at the same time be considered as ordered.'' 
  Manual Sec. 1025. The call of the House under this clause is sometimes 
  referred to as the ``automatic call'' because it is mandated under the 
  conditions specified by the rule. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 2; 6 Cannon 
  Sec. 695.
      Under this rule the Speaker has the discretion to conduct the call 
  by electronic device or to order a call of the roll by the Clerk. 
  Manual Sec. 1025; Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 4.2. When the roll is called by 
  the Clerk, the roll is called twice; and those appearing after their 
  names are called may vote. 4 Hinds Sec. 3052. The Speaker may count 
  the House to determine whether a quorum is present. If his count 
  discloses a quorum, the Speaker declares, pursuant to rule XX clause 
  6, that a quorum is constituted; and he is not required to announce 
  his actual count. Manual Sec. 1025.
      Although arrest of Members is rare in modern practice, Members who 
  do not respond to the call are subject to arrest by the Sergeant-at-
  Arms. See Sec. 19, infra.
      The Speaker is authorized to declare that a quorum is constituted 
  if those voting on the question, together with those who are present, 
  make up a majority of the House. Manual Sec. 1025. Such a declaration 
  dispenses with further proceedings. See Sec. 20, infra. The pending 
  question is then decided by a majority of those voting, a quorum being 
  present. Manual Sec. 1025.

                             Invoking the Call

      The automatic call of the House under rule XX clause 6 may be 
  invoked by a Member who rises following the announcement of the result 
  of a vote to state:

      Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a quorum is 
    not present and make a point of order that a quorum is not present.

  If no Member rises to object that a record vote discloses that a 
  quorum is not present, the Speaker, on his own initiative, must 
  declare the absence of a quorum, thereby invoking the automatic call. 
  Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 2.

      The automatic call does not apply when the House is voting on some 
  question that does not require a quorum, such as a motion incidental 
  to a

[[Page 745]]

  call of the House or a motion to adjourn decided in the affirmative. 
  Manual Sec. 1025; 4 Hinds Sec. 2994; 6 Cannon Sec. 681.


  Sec. 15 . Use of Electronic Equipment

                                In General

      The Speaker is authorized under rule XX clause 2(a) to use the 
  electronic equipment in the Chamber to record those voting on or 
  present for any quorum call. Manual Sec. 1014. The use of this 
  equipment is not mandatory. The Speaker has discretion, for example, 
  to direct the Clerk to call the roll where a quorum fails to vote on 
  any question and objection is made for that reason. Deschler Ch 20 
  Sec. 4.2. The Speaker also has the discretion under rule XX to direct 
  that the quorum call be taken by clerk tellers under clause 4 or by an 
  alphabetical call of the roll under clause 3, rather than by 
  electronic device. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 4.1. These alternatives are 
  normally used when the electronic system is inoperable. Rule XX clause 
  2(b).

                               Response Time

      On a call of the House conducted by electronic device, the Members 
  have not less than 15 minutes to respond. Rule XX clause 2; Manual 
  Sec. 1014. After the 15 minutes have expired, the Chair may allow 
  additional time for Members to respond before announcing the result. 
  Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 4.3.
      At the beginning of a new Congress, the Speaker has inserted in 
  the Congressional Record his announcement that, in order to expedite 
  the conduct of votes by electronic device, the cloakrooms were 
  directed not to forward to the Chair individual requests to hold a 
  vote or quorum call open. The Speaker has also announced that each 
  occupant of the Chair would have his full support in striving to close 
  each electronic vote or quorum call at the earliest opportunity and 
  that Members should not rely on signals relayed from outside the 
  Chamber to assume that votes or quorum calls will be held open until 
  they arrive. At the same time, the Chair will not close a vote or 
  quorum while a Member is in the well attempting to vote. At the 
  beginning of the 108th Congress, the Speaker instituted a new practice 
  of reminding Members when two minutes remain on the clock. Manual 
  Sec. 1014.


  Sec. 16 . Names Published and Recorded on a Call

      Under rule XX clause 2(a), the names of those Members who respond 
  to a quorum call are entered in the Journal and published in the 
  Congressional Record. Manual Sec. 1014. When the call is taken by 
  clerks, the clerks record the names of those present and note the 
  names of absentees. Manual

[[Page 746]]

  Sec. 1019. Members responding to a quorum call ordered on motion under 
  rule XX clause 5 must report their names to the Clerk to be entered on 
  the Journal. Manual Sec. 1021. When an automatic call of the House 
  ensues under rule XX clause 6, Members brought in by the Sergeant-at-
  Arms are noted as present. Manual Sec. 1025.
      Under rule XX clause 4(b), any Member may demand, or the Speaker 
  may require, that the names of those Members not voting be noted by 
  the Clerk, recorded in the Journal, and reported to the Speaker, along 
  with the names of those Members voting, in determining the presence of 
  a quorum. Manual Sec. 1020. The Speaker may direct the Clerk to note 
  the names of Members under this rule even on a vote for which no 
  quorum is necessary. 8 Cannon Sec. 3152.


  Sec. 17 . Quorum Calls in Committee of the Whole

             Regular and ``Notice'' Quorum Calls Distinguished

      Quorum calls in the Committee of the Whole--to secure the presence 
  of at least 100 Members--are governed by the provisions of rule XVIII 
  clause 6. That rule permits two kinds of quorum calls in the 
  Committee, to wit: a ``regular'' quorum call and a ``notice'' or 
  ``short'' quorum call. Manual Sec. 982.
      A ``regular'' quorum call is initiated under rule XVIII clause 
  6(a). That rule sets forth the circumstances under which the Chair is 
  to invoke the procedures normally available to the Speaker for quorum 
  calls in the House under the applicable provisions of rule XX. 
  Specifically, rule XX clause 2(a) allows at least 15 minutes for 
  Members to respond and requires the publication of the names of those 
  Members answering present. Manual Sec. 1014; generally, see 
  Sec. Sec. 15, 16, supra.
      A ``notice'' or ``short'' quorum call is permitted under rule 
  XVIII clause 6(c). That provision permits the Chair, at any time 
  during a call, subject to his prior announcement, to determine and 
  declare that a quorum is present. Proceedings under the call are then 
  considered vacated, and the Committee resumes its business. This 
  provision permits the Chair to announce in advance, at the time the 
  absence of a quorum is ascertained, that he will vacate proceedings 
  when a quorum appears. It also enables the Chair to convert to a 
  regular quorum call in the event that a quorum does not appear. The 
  Chair need not convert to a regular quorum call precisely at the 
  expiration of 15 minutes if a quorum (100 Members) has not responded 
  on a ``notice'' quorum call but may continue to exercise his 
  discretion to vacate proceedings at any time during the entire period 
  permitted for the conduct of the call by rule XX clause 2(a). Manual 
  Sec. 982.

[[Page 747]]

                               When in Order

      Under rule XVIII clause 6(a), the first time that a Committee of 
  the Whole finds itself without a quorum on a day, the Chair must 
  invoke one of the quorum call procedures that are available to him 
  under rule XX. Thereafter, quorum calls are permitted only during 
  proceedings under the five-minute rule when the Chair has put a 
  pending question to a vote. A point of order of no quorum during 
  general debate is permitted only at the discretion of the Chair. 
  Manual Sec. 982.

                             Method of Taking

      Before installation of the electronic system in the Chamber, 
  quorum calls in the Committee of the Whole were effected by a call of 
  the roll. 4 Hinds Sec. 2966. Under the modern practice, quorum calls 
  are taken by electronic device, but the Chair has the discretion to 
  effect the call by an alphabetical call of the roll or by clerk 
  tellers. Rule XVIII clause 6(a), which incorporates by reference rule 
  XX clauses 2, 3, and 4(a). Thus, the Chair may direct that a 
  ``notice'' quorum call be conducted pursuant to the provisions of rule 
  XX clause 4(a)--by depositing quorum tally cards with clerk tellers--
  in lieu of conducting the call by electronic device or a call of the 
  roll. Deschler-Brown Ch 30 Sec. 31.9.
      The so-called automatic call authorized by rule XX clause 6 in the 
  House is not permitted in the Committee of the Whole. See Deschler Ch 
  20 Sec. 7.

                          Reports as to Absentees

      The Committee of the Whole rises and the Chair reports the names 
  of absentees to the House only in the event that a quorum fails to 
  respond to the quorum call under rule XVIII clause 6.


  Sec. 18 . Motions in Order During the Call

                                 Generally

      With the exception of the motion to adjourn, the only motions in 
  order during a call of the House are those in furtherance of the 
  effort to secure a quorum. 6 Cannon Sec. 682. Motions held not in 
  order include:

     Motion to recess. 4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 2995, 2996.
     Motion to dispense with further proceedings under the call. 4 
         Hinds Sec. 2992.
     Motion to excuse Members from voting. 4 Hinds Sec. 3007.
     Motion relating to deductions from the pay of Members. 4 Hinds 
         Sec. 3011.


[[Page 748]]



  Motions that are intended to secure a quorum and therefore in order 
  during the call of the House include:

     Motion that the Speaker issue warrants for the arrest of 
         absent Members. 6 Cannon Sec. 681.
     Motion that the Sergeant-at-Arms take absent Members into 
         custody. 4 Hinds Sec. 3029; 6 Cannon Sec. 685.
     Motion that the Sergeant-at-Arms report progress in securing a 
         quorum. 6 Cannon Sec. 687.
     Motion for the previous question on a proposition incident to 
         a call of the House. 5 Hinds Sec. 5458.
     Motion to reconsider a vote incident to a call of the House. 5 
         Hinds Sec. Sec. 5607, 5608.

                            Motions to Adjourn

      The motion to adjourn takes precedence over a call of the House. 
  Deschler Ch 20 Sec. Sec. 8.14, 8.15. The vote on the motion is taken 
  before the call of the House, even when the motion for the call was 
  offered but not finally agreed to before the motion to adjourn. 
  Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 8. However, the motion to adjourn is not 
  entertained after the call of the House has been ordered. Deschler Ch 
  20 Sec. Sec. 8.22, 8.23. The motion to adjourn may not be entertained 
  during the call. However, if the call is taken by roll call, the 
  motion to adjourn again becomes in order after the conclusion of the 
  second call of the roll if a quorum has not been established. Deschler 
  Ch 20 Sec. 8.19.
      Rule XX clause 6, which authorizes automatic votes by the yeas and 
  nays, permits the House to adjourn in the absence of a quorum and 
  before a call of the House. Clause 6(c) gives the Speaker discertion 
  to recognize a motion to adjourn after the vote has been completed but 
  before the result has been announced if the motion has been seconded 
  by a majority of those present, to be ascertained by actual count of 
  the Speaker. Manual Sec. 1025.


  Sec. 19 . Securing Attendance; Arrests

                          Under Rule XX Clause 6

      The attendance of absent Members may be secured under rule XX 
  clause 6, which provides for the automatic vote by the yeas and nays. 
  Under this rule, the Sergeant-at-Arms ``shall proceed forthwith'' to 
  bring in absent Members whenever a quorum fails to vote, a quorum is 
  not present, and objection is made for that reason. A Member who is 
  arrested is brought by the Sergeant-at-Arms before the House and 
  permitted to vote. Manual Sec. 1025. Compulsory attendance or arrest 
  has been rare in the modern practice.

[[Page 749]]

      Under the conditions specified by this rule, the Sergeant-at-Arms 
  is required to detain those who are present and to bring in absentees. 
  4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 3045-3048. It is not necessary that he be 
  specifically authorized to do so by a motion (Deschler Ch 20 
  Sec. 5.14) or by a resolution adopted by those present (4 Hinds 
  Sec. 3049). However, to make an arrest under this rule, the Sergeant-
  at-Arms must have in his possession a warrant signed by the Speaker. 
  Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 5.10 (note). Although the Speaker possesses full 
  authority to issue a warrant of arrest for absent Members under this 
  rule (6 Cannon Sec. Sec. 680, 702), he usually does not do so without 
  House authorization (Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 5.10). The warrant takes the 
  following form (4 Hinds Sec. 3041):

      To __________, Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives, 
    or his deputies:
      Whereas rule XX clause 6 of the House of Representatives provides 
    as follows: ________________
      Whereas the conditions specified in said rule have arisen, and the 
    following-named Members of the House are absent, to wit: 
    ____________________
      Now, therefore, by virtue of the power vested in me by the House, 
    I hereby command you to execute the said order of the House, by 
    taking into custody and bringing to the bar of the House said above-
    named Members; and make due return in what manner you execute the 
    same.
      [Sealed, signed by the Speaker, and attested by the Clerk]

      When arrested, Members are (1) arraigned at the bar, (2) 
  discharged from arrest, (3) questioned by the Speaker as to whether or 
  not they wish to vote, and (4) permitted to vote. 4 Hinds Sec. 3044.

                          Under Rule XX Clause 5

      The use of the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms to procure the 
  presence of Members in the Chamber also is permitted by rule XX clause 
  5, which authorizes the Speaker to recognize a motion, which requires 
  15 Members to adopt, to compel the attendance of absent Members. 
  Sec. 13, supra. Under the rule, a majority of those present, numbering 
  at least 15 Members, may order officers appointed by the Sergeant-at-
  Arms to send for and arrest absentees for whom no excuse is made. 
  Members whose attendance has been secured in this manner are detained 
  until discharged under conditions determined by the House. Manual 
  Sec. Sec. 1021, 1023. Those present may prescribe a fine as the 
  condition on which an arrested Member may be discharged. 4 Hinds 
  Sec. 3013.
      Under this rule, in the absence of a quorum in the House, a motion 
  (or other proposition) to arrest absentees and bring them into the 
  Chamber is

[[Page 750]]

  in order. 4 Hinds Sec. 3018; Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 5.6. To compel the 
  attendance of absentees by arrest under this rule, the motion:

     Must be supported by 15 affirmative votes, and those voting to 
         compel attendance must be in the majority. Deschler Ch 20 
         Sec. 5.9 (note).
     Is in order after a single calling of the roll. 4 Hinds 
         Sec. 3015.
     Is in order during proceedings to secure a quorum. 6 Cannon 
         Sec. 685.
     Is not debatable. 6 Cannon Sec. 686.
     May not order the arraignment of absent Members at a future 
         meeting of the House. 4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 3032-3034.

      The motion for the arrest of absentees is in the form of an order 
  to the Sergeant-at-Arms, as follows (Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 5.11):

      Ordered, That the Sergeant-at-Arms take into custody and bring to 
    the bar of the House such Members as are absent without leave.

  Unless directed by an appropriate motion, the Sergeant-at-Arms, under 
  rule XX clause 5, has no authority to compel the attendance of absent 
  Members. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 5.9. A motion that merely states that 
  those who are not present are to be ``sent for'' and ``returned,'' and 
  not allowed to leave until the completion of certain business, has 
  been interpreted as requiring the Sergeant-at-Arms to notify absentees 
  but not as bestowing on him the authority to arrest them and bring 
  them into the Chamber under custody. In that case, no timely point of 
  order was raised against the motion due to lack of a quorum. 
  Therefore, the motion was held to be binding on the Speaker and other 
  Members. Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 5.3.

      After agreement to the appropriate motion, warrants for the arrest 
  of absent Members are signed by the Speaker or Speaker pro tempore. 
  Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 5. Leave for a committee to sit during sessions 
  does not release its members from liability to arrest. 4 Hinds 
  Sec. 3020.
      Under the modern practice, clause 5 is seldom used. It should be 
  read in light of rule XX clause 7(a), which precludes a point of order 
  of no quorum except when the Chair has put a question to a vote, and 
  clause 7(b), which gives the Speaker discretion to recognize for a 
  call of the House at any time. Manual Sec. Sec. 1027, 1028.

                   Closing or Locking the Chamber Doors

      Although it was Jefferson's view that as a matter ``[o]f right, 
  the door ought not to be shut,'' the House rules have from time to 
  time given the Speaker the authority to order the closing of the 
  Chamber doors in connection with securing a quorum. Manual Sec. 380; 
  Deschler Ch 20 Sec. 6. Rule XX clause 4, adopted in 1972, states that 
  ``the doors may not be closed except when ordered by the Speaker'' 
  pursuant to a quorum call. Manual Sec. 1019. The precursor of this 
  rule gave the Speaker the discretion, in securing a

[[Page 751]]

  quorum, to order the doors closed or even locked. Deschler Ch 20 
  Sec. 6.2 (note).
      In 1919, Speaker Gillett, after putting the question on ordering a 
  call of the House, directed the Doorkeeper to lock the Chamber doors 
  but then sustained a point of order that the doors should be closed 
  only on a call of the House. 6 Cannon Sec. 703. However, in one 
  instance the doors were locked ``until disposition of the pending 
  business'' (the reading of the Journal). This action was taken by 
  order of the House rather than by order of the Speaker. Deschler Ch 20 
  Sec. 6.5. In 1968, Speaker McCormack ordered the doors to the Chamber 
  closed and locked during a call of the House pursuant to the rule and 
  instructed the Doorkeeper to let no Members leave the Hall. Deschler 
  Ch 20 Sec. 6.3.


  Sec. 20 . Dispensing With Further Proceedings

      Under the former practice, after a quorum had responded on a call 
  of the House, it was necessary to move to dispense with further 
  proceedings under the call before the House could proceed with pending 
  business. See 4 Hinds Sec. 3039. Under the modern practice, rule XX 
  clause 7(b) eliminates the motion to dispense with further proceedings 
  under a call of the House following establishment of a quorum. Manual 
  Sec. 1028. Under this rule, when a quorum has been established 
  pursuant to a call of the House, the Speaker ordinarily simply 
  announces that further proceedings under the call are dispensed with 
  unless the Speaker in his discretion recognizes for a motion to compel 
  the attendance of Members under rule XX clause 5(b).