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In yet another power grab to get his way, Trump Threatens to Adjourn Congress Over Nominees

President Trump threatened to adjourn both chambers of Congress so he can appoint his nominees for key positions without confirmation by the Senate.

The Senate, which confirms a president’s nominees, has been conducting what are called pro forma sessions while lawmakers are back in their states.

No legislative business is conducted during these brief meetings, which sometimes last only a few minutes, but they technically prevent the president from making recess appointments.

If lawmakers don’t agree to adjourn and end the pro forma sessions, “I will exercise my constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers of Congress,” Mr. Trump said. “The current practice of leaving town while conducting phony pro forma sessions is a dereliction of duty that the American people cannot afford during this crisis. It’s a scam, what they do.”

The president acknowledged that the effort would likely result in a legal challenge. “We’ll see who wins,” he said.

Appointments in Question

  • Voice of America, conservative filmmaker Michael Pack, who has been blocked by Democrats.
  • Director of national intelligence
  • Nominees for positions on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, and in the Treasury Department and the Agriculture Department.

Need to Provoke a Disagreement

The Constitution gives the president the power to adjourn Congress in the rare circumstances of a disagreement between the two chambers over when to adjourn. In modern practice, however, Congress stays in session throughout most of the year and no president has ever exercised the authority to adjourn it.

For Mr. Trump’s strategy to work he would need the cooperation of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), who would have to force a disagreement with the House over when to adjourn. Messrs. Trump and McConnell discussed the idea in a phone call earlier Wednesday.

Obama Tried This


Please note that Obama tried this end-run maneuver.

Flashback June 26, 2014: Supreme Court Narrows President's Recess-Appointment Powers

Settling a constitutional showdown over presidential power, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that President Barack Obama exceeded his authority in making temporary appointments to the National Labor Relations Board during a brief Senate break in 2012.

And what did Republicans have to say about the battle then?

Republicans have accused Mr. Obama of overreaching in his use of executive powers to carry out his agenda despite opposition in Congress. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) called the ruling "a clear rebuke of the administration's behavior."

The Senate's official historian, Donald Ritchie, said the ruling settles a question that has long been in dispute between the executive and legislative branches. "The Supreme Court for the first time has really defined what the recess is," he said.

"It's not going to be easy for the president to make recess appointments if the Senate doesn't want him to," Mr. Ritchie said.

But in this case the Republicans have a Senate Majority.

Thus the need to provoke a disagreement with the House after which the battle will head to the Supreme Court

Then “We’ll see who wins.”


Mike "Mish" Shedlock