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Quorum Question


This could turn out to be a purely academic exercise, but why not? Over at Daily Kos, they’ve taken a break from complaining about all the injustice in the world to haggle over this. If there is no quorum present at tonight’s pillowfight, they correctly note, then without any debate a majority of senators present and voting can instruct the Sergeant at Arms to compel attendance of absent senators. (In one famous 1988 incident, they found Sen. Bob Packwood (R., Ore.) hiding under the desk in his office and dragged him by his feet to the Senate floor.)

But in the meantime, while waiting for the missing senators (who could be long gone from the Hill by then), here is what happens:

…pending its execution, and until a quorum shall be present, no debate nor motion, except to adjourn, or to recess pursuant to a previous order entered by unanimous consent, shall be in order.
 So until they bring someone back, there would be no Iraq debate under the conditions I described. Senators would wait in silence until either a quorum shows up or the Senate adjourns.  To what lengths does the Sergeant at Arms go in collecting missing senators? I just called his office and I promise to share the response when I get it. I don’t think it involves driving all over town, but I could be wrong.  And again, it’s all a moot point if the Republicans decide to stick around and debate, or Lieberman or some other 51st senator participates in the slumber party.


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