Senate Republicans will prevent the Senate from recessing next week in order to halt President Obama’s ability to make temporary recess appointments:
President Barack Obama won’t be able to make any executive recess appointments when senators are home next week for the Memorial Day recess – including Elizabeth Warren, Obama’s pick to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The Senate will be in “pro forma session” because Republicans are threatening to block adjournment, Senate leadership aides said. A senator who lives in nearby Virginia or Maryland will be asked to briefly open and close the session on those days, during which time no business will be conducted.
It’s difficult to read this move as anything other than an attempt to squelch the new consumer protection agency before it even gets off the ground. Earlier this month, all but two of the Senate’s Republicans joined a letter announcing they would not confirm anyone President Obama nominates to run the CFPB, even if Obama nominates a Republican. Congressional Republicans’ attempt to prevent Obama from making a recess appointment is a transparent attempt to prevent the president from ensuring that this essential office has the personnel in place that it needs to operate.
In the end, this kind of gamesmanship is nothing less than an end run around American democracy. The Constitution provides that the law creating the CFPB can be repealed if both houses of Congress and the president agree to repeal it — and not simply because the minority party in the Senate decides to throw a tantrum.