Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Senate remains in session?

In a showdown between Congress and the President the Senate is remaining in session over the traditional Thanksgiving break. According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's web site: "The Senate will convene for pro forma sessions during the recess period on the following dates and times: Tuesday, November 20th at 9:00 a.m.; Friday, November 23rd at 10:00 a.m.; Tuesday, November 27th at 9:00 a.m.; and Thursday, November 29th at 9:30 a.m."

What do these pro forma sessions consist of you ask? Well, yesterday the Senate convened at 9:00:07 am and then recessed at 9:00:37 (according to the daily digest). Curious about why the Senate would meet for 30 seconds? This is all because the constitution in Article II, Section 3 gives the president the "
Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session." So if the Senate doesn't go into recess (which it normally does over Thanksgiving for 2 weeks), the president can't appoint nominees without Senate approval.

Want to know the nominees under consideration? Check out page six of the Senate Executive Calendar.

Want to read a bit more about this showdown? Check out the Washington Post's "Senate Stays In Session to Block Recess Appointments."

Want more information on this topic? Check out the library's guides to Congress and Presidents.

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