Senate Democrats and Republicans Join to Block Obama Recess Appointments

Sunday, October 03, 2010
No, Senate Democrats are not jumping ship on their president. This week, when Democrats agreed with Republicans to keep the Senate officially in session and prevent President Barack Obama from making recess appointments, they did so in order to prevent the Republicans from using a parliamentary procedure to force Obama to start all over again with the confirmation process for many of the administration’s pending appointments.
According to the law, if the Senate is adjourned for four or more days in a row, the president can make recess appointments.
Had Democrats not agreed to schedule pro-forma sessions of the Senate twice a week over the next six weeks, while Congress is off campaigning for the November elections, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) would have rejected Obama’s most controversial nominees. That would have forced the president to resubmit the nominees to the Senate and Democrats to start their confirmation processes all over again.
So Obama didn’t get to make any automatic appointments, as he has during other recesses, but when the Senate returns in November, he’ll be able to pick up where he left off. One hundred and ten of Obama’s executive and judicial branch appointments are still awaiting confirmation by the Senate.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


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