Senate Agrees to Republican Demand Against Obama Recess Appointments

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 30, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Agrees to Republican Demand Against Obama Recess Appointments

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 30
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Because they may wind up with a majority of the House or Senate — or enough votes to block some of President Barack Obama’s pro-abortion nominees — Senate Democrats agreed to a demand by Republicans to technically keep the Senate in session during the recess.

That makes it so Obama can’t take advantage of a congressional rule allowing him to make recess appointments during an official Senate recess.

For the pro-life movement, that means Obama can’t put some pro-abortion judicial nominees or administration officials requiring Senate approval in place with a recess appointment intended to avoid Senate confirmation.

That’s what happened when Obama named rationing advocate Donald Berwick as the chief of Medicare and Medicaid and the top official charged with implementing the abortion-funding ObamaCare law that institutes a new government-run health care system.

Democratic leaders agreed to schedule two pro-forma sessions of the Senate each week over the next six weeks. Obama can only make recess appointments if the Senate is adjourned more than three days, but the sessions will have one member of the chamber gavel the Senate into session and immediately out of session to prevent Obama from exploiting the rule.

According to The Hill, pro-life Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky had threatened to send Obama’s most controversial nominees back to the president if Democrats did not agree to the sessions.

Those nominees reportedly included some of Obama’s pro-abortion appeals court and federal district court nominees the Senate Judiciary Committee recently approved. Had the nominations been returned to the White House, Obama would have had to have re-nominated them and they would have been subjected to new hearings and votes in committee.

"They are among the most controversial nominees this White House has sent to the Senate and among the least likely to have anywhere near unanimous consent to remain on the calendar," a GOP aide told The Hill.

Ed Morrissey of the conservative Hot Air blog says the agreement likely came about because of Obama’s bad polling numbers and the looming defeat for Democrats in November.

"Reid almost certainly didn’t volunteer to hold pro-forma sessions, but obviously Democrats have little interest in protecting Obama’s recess privilege any longer. This is a very public slap in the face to Obama and his administration, and a message that a President treads on Congressional privilege at his own peril regardless of party affiliation," he said.

Republicans have been able to hold off approval of the nominees, by virtue of their ability to gather enough votes to sustain a filibuster, and Obama, knowing Republicans will likely have even more votes to prevent confirmation votes, could give them recess appointments.

Recess appointments allow such nominees to serve for two years, after which they must be renominated or given a new recess appointment.


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