Senate Stays in Pro-Forma Session, Blocking Trump Recess Appointments as Lawmakers Leave D.C.

Saturday, August 5, 2017
By Paul Martin

5 Aug 2017

The Senate has unanimously decided to meet “pro-forma” over the remainder of the August recess, preventing President Donald Trump from making recess appointments.

This approach was also used by the Republican controlled Senate during the Barack Obama administration to prevent recess appointments, including a Supreme Court nomination for the seat vacated by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

But now with a GOP Senate and a Republican president in the White House, the tactic seems out of place, including the procedure being put in place by a Republican lawmaker.

“Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), doing wrap up for the entire Senate, locked in nine ‘pro-forma’ sessions — brief meetings that normally last roughly a minute,” The Hill reported on Thursday.

The action requires unanimous approval by the Senate and allows the Senate to be “in session” every three business days throughout the August recess, according to The Hill.

Lawmakers aren’t expected to actually be in session and conduct legislative business until after Labor Day.

But an aide for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) denied any ulterior motive, according to The Hill.

“So to meet our constitutional requirement of meeting every few days, we’re doing pro formas,” the aide said. “We didn’t do it to block Trump.”

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