Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid is on the Senate floor right now announcing that he will be keeping the Senate in a pro forma session throughout the Christmas and New Years holiday in order to block Bush from making recess appointments of controversial nominees that couldn’t make their way through the appropriate Senate committees. Reid will, however, (I believe) be letting a large number of non-controversial Republican nominees be confirmed. This is good. It doesn’t make up for being on the verge of passing a domestic spying bill and continuing to fund the war, but appointments are very important, and anything that can be done to stop Bush from thwarting the Senate’s constitutional role in confirming presidential appointees is a good thing. (Reid’s statement after the jump.)
Mr. President, I turn to the issue of nominations
I have been working with the White House over the past several days in an effort to reach an agreement that works for both sides.
We were unable to reach such an agreement before the Thanksgiving holiday.
That led to my calling the Senate into pro forma sessions to avoid the President’s very objectionable recess appointments.
My hope was that I could avoid that prospect for the coming holidays. I tried to work with the President.
But he indicated he would still use the recess to appoint nominees who are completely objectionable on our side of the aisle.
Our only solution to prevent this is to call pro forma sessions again.
Mr. President, I thought, I could be a grinch.
I could tell the President that I would not move any nominations given his demand to make controversial recess appointments.
That would mean over 40 other Republican nominees would not move forward today.
A smaller number of Democratic appointments – 8 – would also not move.
But I’m not going to do that tonight, Mr. President.
I am not going to meet intransigence with intransigence.
We will confirm those appointments this evening.
And, I will keep the Senate in pro forma session to block the President from doing an end run around the Senate and the Constitution with his controversial nominees.
I, for one, hope for better in the New Year.