Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will keep the U.S. Senate in session over the Thanksgiving break because he wants to block President Bush from making any recess appointments.
Roll Call is reporting that Sen. Reid inserted a statement into the record Friday stating that he will "hold the Senate in a series of pro forma or nonvoting sessions" to prevent Bush from exercising his appointment power.
Reid said, “While an election year looms, significant progress can still be made on nominations. 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.
“With the Thanksgiving break looming, the administration informed me that they would make several recess appointments. I indicated I would be willing to confirm various appointments if the administration would agree to move on Democratic appointments.
“They would not make that commitment,” Reid said.
Roll Call reports that the Democrats particularly object to the possible appointment of James Holsinger as surgeon general. Holsinger has been criticized by gay rights organizations and key Senate Democrats.
President Bush has used his recess appointment power quite a few times in the past, although not as often as his predecessors - Bush's father made more than 75 recess appointments during his term in office, and Ronald Reagan made almost 250, for example.
Some of the most famous of George W. Bush's appointments were those of John Bolton, whom Bush named U.S. ambassador to the U.N.; judges William Pryor and Charles Pickering, who were named to U.S. courts of appeals after their nominations were filibustered by Senate by Democrats; and Sam Fox, who was made U.S. Ambassador to Belgium.
Besides Bolton, whom the Democrats did not want at the U.N., the most controversial recess appointment Bush made was naming Julie L. Myers to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau at the Department of Homeland Security.
Myers is a niece of former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Richard B. Myers and the wife of the chief of staff under Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
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