House forces pro-forma sessions to avoid recess appointments

Congress will spend August and early September not in recess, but in a series of pro-forma sessions meant to keep Congress technically in session, which will prevent the Obama administration from making any recess appointments.

Members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) are behind the effort to ensure that no recess appointments are made.

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"Throughout the August recess, my colleagues and I will preside over pro forma sessions in the House — preventing congressional recess and presidential recess appointments," said Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.), who organized the effort. "We have taken up the call of the American people, who want an open, accountable government. And we are ready and willing to take these extraordinary measures in order to return transparency to Washington and sanity to political appointees."

The Senate is the chamber that confirms presidential appointments, not the House. However, Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution says neither the House nor the Senate can be in recess without the consent of the other chamber.

Therefore, the House has essentially refused to give the Senate consent to go on recess this August. But in doing so, the House also cannot adjourn.

"Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting," the Constitution says.

This procedural quirk will force both chambers to open for brief pro-forma sessions throughout the break. The Senate's next pro forma session is planned for Friday at 10 a.m.

The House plans to meet every third day from Aug. 1 to Aug. 6. A tentative schedule was released by the RSC that describes which members of the House will be presiding in short pro-forma sessions throughout the break:

August 9, Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.)

August 12, Jeff Landry (R-La.)

August 16, Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)

August 19, Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.)

August 23, Jeff Denham (R-Calif.)

August 26, Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.)

August 30, Steve Stivers (R-Ohio)

September 2, Andy Harris (R-Md.)

September 6, Allen West (R-Fla.)

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