Following President Barack Hussein Obama’s “recess” appointments, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released these quotes from some prominent Democrats. For example, then senator Barack Obama said, “A recess appointee is ‘damaged goods… we will have less credibility.’ ‘To some degree, he’s damaged goods… somebody who couldn’t get through a nomination in the Senate. And I think that means that we will have less credibility…’.” Ironic isn’t it?
On December 17, 2011, the Senate agreed to, as it can as outlined in Article I, Section 5 of the US Constitution, an order instituting “pro forma” sessions. President Obama now claims that the Senate was actually recessed. But on December 23, 2011, President Obama signed a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut. If the Senate was actually on recess, as Obama claimed, that day, it couldn’t have passed the bill, and Obama couldn’t have signed it into law. Ever inconsistent and looking for situations to get his own way, Obama respected the Senate’s own view as to whether it was in session or not. First Obama says the Senate was not adjourned, then he says it was adjourned, as it suited his purposes. Are we seeing a pattern from Obama here?
The US Constitution, Article I, Section 5, states, “… and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, …” In this way, the Constitution specifically authorizes “pro forma” sessions, and leadership can, if necessary, recall the rest of the body, Senate or House, to conduct business. While the president, as specified in Article II, Section 3, can adjourn Congress, nothing in the US Constitution suggests that the president gets to overrule Congress on this point, or on making their own rules (Article I, Section 5).
It is not surprising that Obama, who finds the US Constitution flexible enough to support an individual mandate for individuals to purchase health insurance, would argue that its seemingly clear text is sufficiently pliable to empower Obama to overrule Congress’ decision that it’s actually in session. But it takes real chutzpah to make the “adjournment” argument less than two weeks after embracing the very opposite position!
But that’s just my opinion.
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