Dems Deny Bush Recess Appointments by Canceling Thanksgiving Break

News & Politics
This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report

Just yesterday, word leaked that Senate Democrats, unwilling to see what kind of mischief the president might consider during the congressional recess, might keep the chamber open with a series of pro forma sessions. In other words, there wouldn't actually be a recess -- lawmakers would go home, but Bush would be denied the opportunity to make recess appointments.

Apparently, this wasn't just a trial balloon -- Roll Call reports that Harry Reid pulled the trigger on the idea today.
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."
Good for Reid. He'd considered this move before, but was reluctant to go through with it. Today, he made the right call.

In the short term, this will almost certainly have an impact on Dr. James Holsinger, the president's controversial Surgeon General nominee, who resigned from the board of the Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, apparently because he believes he's poised to take office. By all indications, the president planned to appoint him once senators went home for Thanksgiving. Now, he won't get the chance.

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