In a move that’s been used by both parties in the past to avoid recess appointments, House Republicans will hold a series of pro-forma sessions through the August recess to prevent President Obama from trying to slip one by while lawmakers are on vacation.
Members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), led by Rep. Jeff Landry, R-La., have organized the current effort, which will force the House and the Senate to convene briefly every few days until Congress reconvenes in normal full session on Sept. 6.
Officially, no legislative work will actually get done during the pro-forma gatherings, but technically the two chambers will be considered in session, thus scuttling the president’s right to make senior federal appointments when lawmakers are out of town.
“We are willing and ready to take these extraordinary measures in order to return transparency to Washington and sanity to political appointees,” Landry said in a statement released by the RSC.
While the RSC action has forced the Senate — which normally would have to approve presidential appointments — to remain in session as well, it’s not unusual for the Senate to stay in pro-forma session on its own through normal recess periods to avoid appointments that the majority party in the chamber may oppose.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for example, used the pro-forma procedure during the last two years of the George W. Bush administration to head off potential recess appointments.
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