President Obama will likely be blocked from making recess appointments over next week’s July 4th break, according to Republican Senate sources.
The Senate is likely to hold so-called “pro forma” sessions at least every three days over the holiday week, thus preventing Obama from making any such appointments during the period, according to the sources.
Republicans forced Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to take a similar action over Memorial Day break.
Asked what was going to happen next week, a Republican Senate aide emailed, “it’s likely that there will be pro forma sessions again, in part because Reid really doesn’t want to have to vote to adjourn.”
Liberal activists have been pushing for Obama to recess-appoint Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Before the Memorial Day break, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said he would not agree to a unanimous consent request to allow the Senate to adjourn, and circulated a letter, signed by all 47 Republican Senators including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., backing him up. Unless Reid were to get approval from every GOP Senator allowing unanimous agreement, it would force Democrats to cast embarrassing votes to adjourn at a time when they haven’t even passed a budget.
McConnell’s office would not comment on the matter, and a Reid spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
The Republicans' position is bolstered because the party controls the House of Representatives. Under the U.S. Constitution, neither chamber can adjourn unless a majority in both chambers agrees to it. Even if the House doesn’t explicitly block the measure, the fact that it could gives Republicans additional leverage against Reid.
Back in May, Sens. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and David Vitter, R-La., along with 18 other Republican Senators, sent a letter to House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Oh., calling on the House to block Obama from making any recess appointments.
Boehner’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
It’s important to caution that nothing is finalized at this time. Another GOP Senate source adds, “you should definitely stay tuned.”