Congress

Senate Blocks Trump Recess Appointments

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) canceled the first two weeks of the August recess last month, but their recess was un-canceled yesterday and the Senate has now departed Washington for the remainder of the month.

But the Senate won't technically be in recess. A group of senators have volunteered to keep the Senate open so Trump cannot make any recess appointments.

Using a procedural tool often invoked by senators in the past, the Senate has set up a series pro forma sessions. Essentially, they'll gavel into session every few days -- perhaps even for just minutes at a time -- through Labor Day to keep the lights on.

Concerns arose last month that the President might attempt to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appoint a replacement of his choosing while the upper chamber was out during the August recess.

This is a pretty big 'fuck you' to Trump and I appreciate that, but what I am truly savoring is the fact that the first pro-forma sessions was announced by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

You may recall that Trump's interior secretary Ryan Zinke threatened Murkowski and the entire state of Alaska over her opposition to Trumpcare.

As the Interior Department's top appropriator, Murkowski has the power to clock-block Zinke and she can hold open these mock sessions to block recess appointments.

Trump would have to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions to get to special prosecutor Robert Mueller, but if he did that now he would not have the ability to replace Sessions with an obedient lapdog. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller so I don't think he would willingly fire him either.

  • muselet

    I didn’t much like Congress remaining in pro-forma session when the Rs did it while Barack Obama was president, and I don’t much like it now. Still, given the likely quality of Donald Trump’s likely appointees, this tactic may delay Doomsday for at least a little while.

    It says nothing good about Trump that the R-controlled Senate will go to this length to keep him from naming Ivanka’s favorite Barbie doll Atorney General.t

    –alopecia

    • ninjaf

      My thoughts, exactly.

    • Christopher Foxx

      I don’t much care for it either. I don’t like the potential hypocrisy of disapproving an action when “they” do it and having no problem with it when “we” do it. But the two situations are not comparable.

      But I do recognize that the Rs did it to Obama because they refused to confirm his vastly qualified candidates and didn’t want him getting them in place; they feared his administration becoming even more effective at doing good things for the country. By contrast, they’re doing it to Trump because they fear the vastly unqualified people he might appoint to help him get away with breaking the law.

      • muselet

        Agreed.

        –alopecia

  • Aynwrong

    Good news.