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View Diary: Nancy Pelosi & House Dems Just Filed The Discharge Petition (215 comments)

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  •  ''A Quorum To Do Business'' (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, LSophia, mamamedusa, elwior, JVolvo

    My understanding so far - is that a vote can occur without a quorum unless a member objects.  Than the House Speaker can call members to the house in order to obtain a quorum.  But members in the house count for a quorum even if they don't vote.

    What looks feasible is 217 signatures on the petition. 217 members in the chamber, (not necessarily the same 217) in order to hold a recorded vote.  

    Suppose the vote is 192 Y-25 N, all others "present", the bill would pass and the Republicans could still claim that it was a purely partisan bill.  But then they will have to explain to their constituents why they didn't support the bill.

    ''A Quorum To Do Business''

    For many years the view prevailed in the House of Representatives that it was necessary for a majority of the members to vote on any proposition submitted to the House in order to satisfy the constitutional requirement for a quorum. It was a common practice for the opposition to break a quorum by refusing to vote. This was changed in 1890, by a ruling made by Speaker Reed, and later embodied in Rule XV of the House, that members present in the chamber but not voting would be counted in determining the presence of a quorum. 352 The Supreme Court upheld this rule inUnited States v. Ballin, 353 saying that the capacity of the House to transact business is ''created by the mere presence of a majority,'' and that since the Constitution does not prescribe any method for determining the presence of such majority ''it is therefore within the competency of the House to prescribe any method which shall be reasonably certain to ascertain the fact.'' 354 The rules of the Senate provide for the ascertainment of a quorum only by a roll call, 355 but in a few cases it has held that if a quorum is present, a proposition can be determined by the vote of a lesser number of members. 356

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