Reid to Keep Senate in Session to Prevent Recess Appointments
By Erin P. Billings
Roll Call Staff
Friday, Nov. 16, 2007; 12:35 pm
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has decided to keep the chamber in session over the Thanksgiving break to block President Bush from making any unsavory recess appointments while Senators are out of town.
In a statement inserted in the record Friday, the Majority Leader said he will hold the Senate in a series of pro forma or nonvoting sessions to prevent the controversial practice. In the statement, Reid argued that nominations need to get on track, and that Bush has not met the Democrats “halfway” in agreeing to Democratically backed nominees to “important commissions.”
“While an election year looms, significant progress can still be made on nominations,” Reid said. “I am committed to making that progress if the President will meet me halfway.
“But that progress can’t be made if the President seeks controversial recess appointments and fails to make Democratic appointments to important commissions.”
Senate sources said Reid made the decision after he was unable to strike a deal with White House officials that would have allowed swift consideration of several key Democratic picks for the executive branch. In his statement, Reid points to the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Nuclear Regulatory Commission as examples where Democratic choices have not been moved along.
“Up until recently, the President has generally discharged that obligation,” Reid said. “In the last several months, however, the administration has been stalling progress on Democratic appointments.”