House Republicans on Friday morning blocked Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (S.C.) from speaking on the House floor during a brief pro forma session.
After the daily prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, Clyburn rose to speak, but presiding officer Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) said Clyburn was "out of order," and that no business was to be conducted during these pro forma sessions. Denham then gaveled the session closed.
Republicans in late December prevented House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) from speaking on the floor, refusing to recognize him. Hoyer was making a push to accept the Senate's two-month payroll tax holiday extension.
The appointments were backed by an opinion from White House lawyers that Congress is actually in recess, despite the occasional pro forma sessions. But Republicans have warned that the appointments will likely face a legal challenge.