The Corner

Reid Backs Obama on Recess Appointments

Iain (here and here) and Dan (here) are right to be outraged at President Obama’s brazenness (if not lawlessness) on the recess appointments, but it is not like he lacks accomplices. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has backed the president’s play, according to the Hill. Senate Democrats will no doubt echo that support.

The hypocrisy here is blatant, even by congressional standards. In 2007, Reid kept the senate in pro forma session in order to block President Bush from making recess appointments — particularly, the eminently qualified Steve Bradbury’s appointment to head DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. “I had to keep the Senate in pro forma session to block the Bradbury appointment,” Reid recounted in 2008. “That necessarily meant no recess appointments could be made.

The Senate has similarly been holding pro forma sessions over the current holiday recess to keep the session technically ongoing, thus blocking — or at least they thought they were blocking — Obama, just as Bush was blocked. But Obama ignored the move, reasoning that such brief sessions (held roughly every three days and lasting only seconds) should not count. Despite the position he took during the Bush years, Reid today said, “I support President Obama’s decision.” His rationale, if you can call it that, is that while he was just trying to block recess appointments, Republicans are blocking such appointments for the specific purpose of re-legislating the Dodd-Frank law.

The theory of separation of powers is that the respective branches have a powerful incentive to protect their turf and will therefore police each other’s encroachments. Apparently … not so much. In any event, since the president is in the hardball business, he can only be stopped (or at least discouraged) if Congress uses its constitutional tools in kind. It is worth remembering that the government cannot function if the House declines to raise and spend money, and Obama cannot get anyone appointed from here on out unless the Senate, once it is in session, can muster 60 votes. So my question is: are Republicans just going to grouse about this, or are they actually going to do something about it? 

Most Popular

White House

Trump and the ‘Racist Tweets’

What does “racist” even mean anymore? Racism is the headline on President Trump’s Sunday tweets -- the media-Democrat complex assiduously describes them as “racist tweets” as if that were a fact rather than a trope. I don’t think they were racist; I think they were abjectly stupid. Like many ... Read More
White House

The Trump Steamroller

As we settle into high summer and the period of maximum difficulty in finding anything to fill in hours of television news, especially 24/7 news television, two well-established political trends are emerging in this pre-electoral period: The president’s opponents continue to dig themselves into foxholes that ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More
Sports

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More
U.S.

The ‘Squad’ Gives a Gift to Donald Trump

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift -- comments that indicate he thinks native-born congresswomen he detests should “go back” to the countries of their ancestors. On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most ... Read More