Skip to comments.The White House Is Wrong – The Senate Conducted Business During Its ‘Recess’
Posted on 01/05/2012 4:54:51 PM PST by jazusamo
In the uproar over President Obamas unconstitutional recess appointments (Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three new members of the National Labor Relations Board), one fact has gotten too little attention .
Attempting to justify the presidents violation of the Constitution and 90 years of legal precedent, presidential spokesman Dan Pfeiffer claimed that the president can exercise recess appointment powers because the Senates pro forma sessionsconducted since mid-Decemberare merely a gimmick during which no Senate business is conducted and instead one of two Senators simply gavel in and out of session in a matter of seconds.
However, a simple review of the Congressional Record (CR) shows that claim to be categorically false.
Most senators left D.C. on Dec. 17 after scheduling pro forma sessions for December and January. The CR for Dec. 17 shows that Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Wash) received unanimous consent to schedule Dec. 23 as a pro forma session.
The CR for Dec. 23 shows that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid specifically asked for unanimous consent for H.R. 3765 so that if the House passes and sends to the Senate a bill which is identical to the text extension of the reduced payroll tax, unemployment insurance, TANF, and the Medicare payment fix, the bill be considered read three times and passed.
In that pro forma session, Reid received unanimous consent and the two-month extension of the payroll tax break that had caused such a political commotion in Washington was considered read and passed in the Senate after the House acted. Thats not a gimmick. Thats legislating.
That same CR for the Dec. 23 pro forma session records a series of other business actions taken by the Senate. The President pro tempore signed several enrolled bills. Other senators were designated as members of a conference committee to negotiate with the House over disagreements to H.R. 3630. The minority leader even made appointments to the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, pursuant to 22 U.S.C. § 7002.
Contrary to White House assertions, the Senate unquestionably conducted actual business during at least one of its supposedly pro forma sessions. This simple fact makes President Obamas actions even more indefensible.
The Presidents ends dont justify his means. Politics should not trump the principle that we and particularly the President operate under the rule of law and the bounds of the Constitution. When a President disregards the facts and shows such contempt for this principle, it is more than disappointing, it threatens the foundations of our republic. Leaders who believe they need not abide by the rules and the law have led more than one republic down the road to tyranny.
I suspect he doesn't remember that ~
How much of the Constitution does Obama have to trample before we start drawing up articles of impeachment? If Anthony Kennedy gets hit by a bus, would Obama just fit Eric Holder for a black robe and put him on the court, like putting in a new new quarterback when the starter gets injured?
Hans: Accurate and informative as usual. Thanks.
However, you assume two things that ain’t so.
1. That the White House mouthpieces from Carney to Pfeiffer actually know what they are talking about (i.e. knowledge of the law, congressional procedures, etc). Not a chance. They aren’t that smart nor do they care about accuracy.
2. That any White House rat wants to tell the truth. Not in this life-time. Just listen to Pelosi and Reid lie through their delusional teeth.
George Orwell must be having orgasims over the Democrats perversion of the English language by exemplified by Obama and his marxist minions.
Joseph Gobbel’s must be saying from Hell that “See, the Big Lie does succeed. Wish we had had these guys on our side.”
Julius Streicher (Dur Sturmer) would be saying, also from Hell, “Hey Obamites, wanna job on my newspaper”? You’re my kind of people.
George Soros to Streicher. Hey, Julius, I’m your man and have been since WW2. What can I do for you?
This is the true and I approve of my comments
I honestly believe Obama would try that because we all know Holder wouldn’t get through the Senate.
Another example that comes to mind is the "nuclear option" of changing rules to eliminate filibusters. I think that was floated by the GOP a number of times, but they backed off. It took Democratic politics to "deem and pass" the Obamacare bill and bypass normal parliamentary procedure.
This lowering of the bar for government action (whether executive or Congressional) is a dangerous path for all of us.
Obama doesn’t give a damn about whether or not the Senate was in recess or the constitution for that matter. The question is how to over turn this appointment. Limbaugh corecctly pin points where this is all headed. “the purchase of an election” by purchasing home mortgages
Correct on all points. Especially on Hans von Spakovsky, he’s brilliant, IMHO.
Sure. My point is that politeness was observed for a while, even during the recess, and then it was observed during the mini-sessions, and now that politeness is gone. Presidents bypass Congress (now, by making appointments during the mini-session), and Congress thwarts Presidents (by denying appointments during the real session on political grounds).
Another good reason to impeach Bolshevik Chairman Obama.
The presidents recent in your face recess appointments have escalated this questionable procedure to an extraordinary level. If left to stand, it is reasonable to expect that in the future, the current president or any successor, will feel justified in using this procedure any time an appointee is rejected or delayed. Taken to the extreme, a procedure designed to provide for continuity of government, effectively repeals the Senate role in selection of high level officials. This is a matter that should concern everyone, republicans and democrats alike. The question then becomes what can be done to reestablish equilibrium.
I think the solution resides in the Constitution itself, not in the courts or the amendment process. Consider the following:
Article 2, Section 2 provides that: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session. For the purpose of this clause a session is considered to end not upon a recess, but only when the congress adjourns sine die. It is important to note that commissions expire at the end of the next session, not at the end of the next year.
Section 2 of the 20th Amendment provides that: The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day. While there is a requirement that a session must begin at a specified date and time, there is no specified time for adjournment nor limitation on the number of sessions they can hold in any one year. That is left to Congress and, in fact, there is precedent for multiple sessions in one year. Following adjournment Congress can be called back into session by the President or can call themselves back into session.
Without any harm to the Constitution, Congress could reassert their authority by voting to adjourn sine die on the next day they meet. Leadership could subsequently call them back into session at any time following that adjournment (even five minutes later.) They could adjourn sine die again and leadership could subsequently call them back into session. Adjournment does not require approval of the President nor is the act itself or length of session subject to review by the Courts.
Under Article 2, Section 2, the commission of any recess appointee would expire at the exact time the abbreviated session ended thus flushing the system without involvement of the Courts or the President. The Senates confirmation power would be effectively restored and any President contemplating such action in the future would be on notice that it would not work.
The MSM is clearly on Obama's side on this, openly lying to the public about the status of one branch of the federal government.
I believe you are correct. It is one of the rules that can, and should be modernized. It would not effect the legitimate workings of our government, however would put an end to much mischief IMO.
This was the day before Obama made his unconstitutional appointments.
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