WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, presided over a special session of the House on Friday aimed at preventing President Barack Obama from making recess appointments.
Landry led a coalition of 77 fellow Republican freshmen in recently calling for the U.S. House not to approve an adjournment resolution for the U.S. Senate’s July Fourth recess. The Senate handles the nominations process but both chambers must approve the recess resolution.
Norman Ornstein of the conservative Enterprise Institute called the House move “posturing.” Several Senate Republicans had already intended to object to the adjournment, he said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, announced Thursday that the U.S. Senate would not go into recess next week after being criticized by Obama. But Reid was also boxed in by the U.S. House not approving the adjournment resolution.
Landry presided over a pro forma session that is required to keep the House operating. One member must be present to operate the chamber once every three days under the Constitution.
The U.S. House should not involve itself in nomination fights, Landry said, but Republicans feared that Obama would make the recess appointments, which presidents are permitted to do.
Landry couldn’t be reached for comment on Friday. An aide said he was traveling back to the district.
But Landry issued an audio statement calling the House session necessary.
“If President Obama wants to fill a position, he should make his nomination and send it to the Senate,” Landry said. “I say the fact that administrations have long abused the recess appointments process doesn’t make it right.”
Dozens of Obama executive branch and judicial nominations remain frozen due to Republican filibusters in the Senate. The White House on Friday had no comment.
Republicans criticized the last recess appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Boad. Becker’s nomination was rejected by the Senate. Republicans protested that Becker favored labor unions.
Republicans contend that Obama intends to use a recess appointment to name Elizabeth Warren as the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The position will be one of the most powerful in the federal government and Warren wants the government to approve every credit transaction that citizens enter into, Landry said.
The power to make recess appointments was bestowed on the executive branch for emergencies, Landry said.
“This isn’t 1852, Congress isn’t out of session for four months at a time,” Landry said.
Landry wants the pro forma sessions to continue through the upcoming four-week August recess too and every break in the remainder of Obama’s term, he said.
“The American people sent a loud message last November that America needs to end Washington practices that are fundamentally wrong,” Landry said.