Well, If It’s Just for the NLRB Guys

By March 27, 2010Labor Unions

Now that the President has announced his intention to make 15 recess appointments, Politico’s story on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s views on recess appointments takes on an interesting, new light.

Reid had told White House officials he’s willing to accept the appointment of union-friendly lawyers Craig Becker and Mark Pearce to fill two longstanding vacancies on the five-member board, according to Democrats familiar with the situation.

But he had also made it clear that making recess appointments of dozens of other nominees stalled by Republicans would violate “senatorial prerogatives” — and over-using the side-door process could open up Democrats to election year attacks, according to a senior Democrat on condition of anonymity.

“Harry doesn’t like it, but he’ll tolerate it for the NLRB guys,” the senior Democrat said of recess appointments.

And how about the 13 others?

Should we anticipate a return to the sub-minute pro forma sessions that the Majority Leader used to interrupt Congressional recesses during the Bush Administration? You remember, don’t you?

Associated Press, May 24, 2008, “Pro forma sessions block Bush“:

The Senate is famed for its long-winded debates, but on Friday it took Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown just seconds to stop Republicans in their tracks.

With the Senate entering the first day of its Memorial Day recess, the Ohio senator was briefly in the chair, before a near-empty chamber, to gavel in and gavel out what is called a pro forma session. Without that procedural move, the Senate would technically be adjourned and President Bush could install administration officials or judges as “recess appointments” — without Senate confirmation.

“That’s the fastest I’ve ever done it,” said Brown, who like other freshmen does duty as presiding officer when the Senate is in regular session. He said he didn’t realize until he got there that the prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, which usually open a session, were dispensed with for pro forma meetings. 

“I’m willing to do it,” Brown said of showing up when nearly every senator has already left town. “We’re not going to let them get away with that kind of abuse of power.”

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