[Constitution, Jefferson's Manual, and the Rules of the House of Representatives, 109th Congress]
[House Document 108-241]
[Jeffersons Manual of ParliamentaryPractice]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]
particular day,'' and then the House is adjourned to that day. 2 Hats.,
Sec. 584. Parliamentary law as to adjournment of the
Commons and Lords.
The two Houses of Parliament have the sole, separate, and
independent power of adjourning each their respective Houses. The King
has no authority to adjourn them; he can only signify his desire, and it
is in the wisdom and prudence of either House to comply with his
requisition, or not, as they see fitting. 2 Hats., 232; 1 Blackst., 186;
5 Grey, 122.
* * * * *
The modern practice of the House adheres to this principle
(Sec. Sec. 912-913, infra). Clause 4 of rule XVI admits at the
discretion of the Speaker a separate motion of equal privilege that when
the House adjourns on that day it stand adjourned to a day and time
certain (consistent with article I, section 5, clause 4 of the
Constitution, not in excess of three days).
Sec. 585. Motion to adjourn not to be amended.
A motion to
adjourn, simply cannot be amended, as by adding ``to a particular day;''
but must be put simply ``that this House do now adjourn;'' and if
carried in the affirmative, it is adjourned to the next sitting day,
unless it has come to a previous resolution, ``that at its rising it
will adjourn to a
An adjournment during pleasure is effected in the House by a motion
for a recess. A recess may not be taken by less than a quorum (IV, 2958-
2960), and consequently the motion for it is not in order in the absence
of a quorum (IV, 2955-2957). When the hour previously fixed for a recess
arrives, the Chair declares the House in recess even in the midst of a
division or when a quorum is not present (IV, 664; V, 6665, 6666); but a
roll call is not in this way interrupted (V, 6054, 6055). Where a
special order requires a recess at a certain hour of a certain day, the
recess is not taken if the encroachment of a prior legislative day
prevents the existence of the said certain day as a legislative day (IV,
3192). And an adjournment at a time before the hour fixed for a recess
vacates the recess (IV, 3283). A motion for a recess must, when
entertained, be voted on, even though the taking of the vote may have
been prevented until after the hour specified for the conclusion of the
proposed recess (V, 6667). A Committee of the Whole takes a recess only
by permission of the House (V, 6669-6671; VIII, 3362). The motion for a
recess is not privileged (V, 4302, 5301, 6740), in the House or in
Committee of the Whole (June 26, 1981, p. 14356) against a demand that
business proceed in the regular order (V, 6663; VIII, 3354-3356).
However, beginning in the 102d Congress a motion to authorize the
Speaker to declare a recess was given a privilege equal to that of the
motion to adjourn (clause 4 of rule XVI); and beginning in the 103d
Congress the Speaker was authorized to declare a recess ``for a short
time when no question is pending'' (clause 12 of rule I). For the
Speaker's authority to declare an emergency recess when notified of an
imminent threat to the safety of the House, see Sec. 639, infra.
Sec. 586. Motion for a recess.
Where it is convenient that
the business of the House be suspended for a short time, as for a
conference presently to be held, &c., it adjourns during pleasure; 2
Hats., 305; or for a quarter of an hour. 4 Grey, 331.
Sec. 587. Adjournment pronounced by the
If a question be put for adjournment, it is no adjournment till
the Speaker pronounces it. 5 Grey, 137. And from courtesy and respect,
no member leaves his place till the Speaker has passed on.