Political Gamesmanship: Great New Ideas for Summer Vacation Fun!
By now, we've all heard about the Democratic leadership in the U.S. House taking off for vacation without taking action on our nation's dire energy problems. Most notably, bringing up for vote the ending of the congressional ban on offshore drilling.
But, in the U.S. Senate, it's another story entirely. Over there it's the Democrats that refuse to leave. On the other side of the Capitol, they are engaging in political gamesmanship by refusing to adjourn the Senate for their annual August recess. Their fear is that President Bush will utilize the timeframe to make "recess appointments" while the Senate is away.
Considering how difficult it has been for President Bush to bring his various nominations through the process in this highly politically charged, partisan Congress, the president has been forced to make 165 recess appointments during his presidency through last fall. A recess appointee is allowed to serve until the end of the congressional session, which in this case coincides with the end of the Bush presidency.
From the AP via Yahoo:
Senate Democrats, repeating a tactic they have used all year, staged a lightning-fast pro forma session Tuesday, a procedure that keeps the Senate from officially adjourning and stops President Bush from making "recess appointments" without Senate confirmation.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., took 28 seconds to gavel the Senate in and out of session. It's a process that will be repeated every three working days to keep the Senate from going into recess until lawmakers return in September.
Often it's senators from nearby Virginia or Maryland asked to do pro forma duty. Reed said he was helping out because he was staying at his Washington home with his 19-month-old child while his wife was traveling.
Seems these guys will use every rule in the playbook to keep the business of this nation from being successfully carried out. I think it's slightly more than just "unfortunate", which White House Spokesman Tony Fratto uses to describe the situation.
Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said there was no particular nomination they were trying to stop. He said they just wanted to prevent "any mischief from happening."
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said there were 250 pending nominations - 151 non-career, 50 judicial, nine career civilian and 40 career military.
"It's really unfortunate that Congress left for yet another recess without dealing with pending nominations, especially for key officials dealing with energy issues, like our nominee for deputy secretary of Energy and three nominees to be commissioners of the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission)."
Indeed, this is more than "unfortunate". This is an outright betrayal of the American people by the very chosen few they have sent to Washington to lead and conduct the business of our government. But, instead these 'leaders' decide to use their time to play vacation games.