In a flurry of activity on Capitol Hill yesterday, Democrats and GOP pols struck a deal that will prevent the President from bypassing the normal democratic process and appointing unapproved nominees while Senators are in recess, The Hill reports.
In order to prevent any recess appointments over the two months, Democrats agreed to schedule pro-forma sessions of the Senate (on Mondays and Fridays) every week over the next six weeks. Current law only allows the president to make a recess appointment if the Senate is adjourned for more than three consecutive days.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had threatened to send Obama’s most controversial nominees back to the president if Democrats did not agree to schedule the pro-forma sessions, a GOP aide told The Hill. That would have meant extreme headaches for Senate Democrats and President Obama, who would have had to start from scratch on the procedural process.
But with a deal in place, McConnell will not send any nominees back and Democrats will hold pro-forma Senate sessions.
President Obama has already used the end-around on multiple occasions, most notably to appoint the controversial head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Donald Berwick. Berwick was not vetted by the Senate despite his comments, among others, the he loves the British national health care system.
As of Wednesday, Obama had 115 executive and judicial-branch nominees pending in the Senate, according to The Hill.