Skip to comments.Senate meets for 9 seconds to block Bush appointment
Posted on 12/26/2007 8:11:08 PM PST by TRY ONE
Dec. 26, 2007, 4:25PM Senate meets for 9 seconds to block Bush appointment
By LAURIE KELLMAN Associated Press
TOOLS Email Get section feed Print Subscribe NOW Comments (40) Recommend WASHINGTON The House was quiet as a mouse the day after Christmas. But across the Capitol, the Senate was operating in an unusually efficient manner in its ongoing power struggle with President Bush.
A nine-second session gaveled in and out by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., prevented Bush from appointing as an assistant attorney general a nominee roundly rejected by majority Democrats. Without the pro forma session, the Senate would be technically adjourned, allowing the president to install officials without Senate confirmation.
The business of blocking Bush's recess appointments was serious. It represents an institutional standoff between Congress and the president that could repeat itself during Congress' vacations for the remainder of Bush's presidency.
In such situations, pro forma sessions also could give Bush some political cover on popular legislation he doesn't want to sign. When Congress is holding pro forma sessions and is not formally adjourned, a bill sent to a president automatically becomes law 10 days after he receives it excluding Sundays unless he vetoes it.
That could be the fate of two bills Congress passed last week. One growing out of the Virginia Tech massacre makes it harder for people with mental illness records to buy guns. The other makes it easier for journalists and others to obtain government documents through the Freedom of Information Act. The FOIA bill, for example, would become law on New Year's Eve if not vetoed before then, according to Senate Judiciary Committee officials.
In practice, today's pro forma process was almost comical.
"Good morning!" Webb, sporting a respectful tie and jacket, called to the floor staff assembled just for the occasion in an otherwise sleepy and chilly Capitol. One clerk congratulated Webb on being 30 seconds early, thrice the amount of time it would take to complete the Senate's work for the day.
Climbing to the president's chair, Webb took the gavel and banged it.
"The Senate will come to order," he intoned, reading from a two-line script to a floor empty of other senators but witnessed from the gallery by one reporter and about a half dozen staffers. "Under the previous order, the Senate stands in recess until Friday, December 28th, 2007 at 10 a.m."
His work done, Webb left. The floor staff reported to those in the gallery overhead that the session had lasted nine seconds.
"I didn't appoint myself ambassador to a tropical nation," Webb, a former Navy secretary, novelist and TV documentary maker, quipped afterward.
Before Congress left last week, Democrats scheduled 11 pro forma sessions to fill the void until the Senate returns to regular session on Jan. 22. The purpose was to stop Bush from using the constitutional power presidents hold under the Constitution to bypass Senate confirmation and unilaterally install his nominees in office when Congress is adjourned.
Democrats wanted to block one such recess appointment in particular: Steven Bradbury, acting chief of the Justice Department's Office of Legislative Counsel. Bush nominated Bradbury for the job and asked the Senate to remove the "acting" in his title.
Democrats would have none of it, complaining Bradbury had signed two secret memos in 2005 saying it was OK for the CIA to use harsh interrogation techniques some call it torture on terrorism detainees.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Bush refused to rule out appointing Bradbury to the job if the Senate formally adjourned. So, Reid decided to keep the Senate in session with pro forma meetings every two or three days.
This Senate has a bunch of Firsts:
1) They filibuster judicial appointments 2) They prevent recess appointments
How’s that approval rating holding up?
Nothing they do can surprise me anymore.
Someone on the GOP side needs to get smart enough to block Webb’s car.
I for one approve. The less time these rascals are in session the less damage they cause, generally speaking.
It’s a shame we’re not paying them on a piecework basis, however. They’d all starve.
Does anyone realize how stupid this is and looks? Webb is an idiot...in 2008 the donkeys are screwed [and they did it to themselves].
What these RATS just don’t get it that payback could easily happen. They cannot control the Senate forever. What we have to concentrate on is making sure we get a Republican President elected next term as well at getting the Senate back.
they managed to actually DO something.....we’ll add this to the short list of accomplishments....
I want to see that video of “We killed the Patriot Act” over and over next year in all GOP political ads.......
I’m sure they’ll offer Virginia about $1 billion in pork for Webb to ‘oversleep’.
Well, I suppose it's an improvement over his thoughts of banging prepubescent children. Oh, it's just a novel?
If it was us, we’d be applauding our smarts ...
3. they investigate the entire Bush Administration and hold hearings that go nowhere.
They’re being out-mamuverued constantly by the GOP, lol.
A session of one...
So what is the appropriate answer to that game?
Our side would have to bother to show up...
Looks like Webb has finally found a purpose for being in the Senate.
Other than being able to lose track of his pistol with impunity.
can the Repubs get 4 to be there for the next session
have them call the role etc... ?
Aeen’t there even *5* GOP Senators who aren’ pieces of chickenshit, to all show up tommorrow, to force a quorum call, and force the Dem to adjourn Congress when a quorum cannot be formed?
The Repub Senators are every bit as much a bunch of cowardly chickenshits as the sniveling whiner Dims and Gimmies.
Isn’t there anything the republicans can do? Like showing up and forcing a vote of some kind? Maybe motion to adjourn?
The Presidency is what he has always had his eye on since he decided to run for a senate seat.
All 49 Repubs would have to show up to the Senate just as Webb was hammering the gavel, but before he finished his 9 second speech.
As they walked in, VP Cheney would have to take the gavel from Webb to act as President of the Senate (his official title whenever he is in the Senate Chambers).
49 Repubs plus Webb is 50 Senators, the Constitutional requirement for a quorom.
With VP Cheney holding the gavel, the GOP Senate (it would be a GOP senate at that point) could pass whatever bill they desired, approve whatever judge (include a SCOTUS justice) they desired, etc.
So that's why Webb is trying to keep his Senate session brief (9 seconds!). This little trick of the Dems to keep the Senate in "session" while the rest are off on holiday vacations could backfire on them if the GOP unified and played sneaky hardball.
However, the last senator elected to the WH was Kennedy and he didn't really win, his daddy bought it for him. These donkeys that think their way to the WH is through their senate need to look closer at history. Webb is obviously kissing his bosses A, and you can bet Virginians wish they'd have never elected that bassturd. He's such a whiny baby...him and his face lift.