House Members don’t have the power to confirm or reject administration nominees, but that hasn’t stopped Rep. Jeff Landry from weighing in on the process.
The freshman Louisiana lawmaker is calling on House GOP leaders to prevent President Barack Obama from making any recess appointments. To do that, the House would have to deny the Senate the ability to go into a formal recess by refusing to take up joint resolutions for both chambers to leave town. That would effectively keep both chambers in pro forma session every three days and stop Obama from availing himself of a law that allows him to make appointments when the Senate is out of session for long periods.
So far, Landry’s letter to House GOP leaders has garnered 57 signatures. Signatories have also pledged to help man the House floor during any pro forma sessions this year.
It’s unclear what practical value Landry’s effort would have; Senate Republicans have already objected to recessing this year.
“Recess appointments are intended to maintain the continuity of administrative government during periods when the Senate is not in session,” the Louisiana Republican said in a statement. “They are for situations when nominees cannot be considered or confirmed, not for political expediency. My colleagues and I are fully committed to fighting for the American people and against politically-motivated recess appointments.”
Procedurally, for one body to formally go into recess, it must have the agreement of the other body. So while House Members don’t have the ability to consider nominations, they can prevent the Senate from recessing. If the Senate is unable to pass an adjournment resolution, it must go into a pro forma session every three days.
The Senate was in a pro forma session over the Memorial Day break, after Senate GOP lawmakers threatened to force a vote on an adjournment resolution unless the Budget Committee marked up a spending plan. The pro forma session effectively prevented Obama from using his recess appointment power to install some nominees during that week.
In particular, Republicans have been concerned that Obama might use his recess appointment powers to install Elizabeth Warren atop the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.