Obama appointed Richard Cordray director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and made three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board last week, just a day after both the House and Senate held pro forma sessions.
The House resolution noted that the Constitution holds that neither the House nor the Senate can adjourn for recess without the consent of the other body. Since last year, House Republicans have blocked formal recess and forced both chambers to hold pro forma sessions every few days, a system designed to prevent recess appointments.
The administration said it relied on a legal opinion that Congress was in recess, despite the pro forma sessions. But Black said that decision effectively allows the Executive Branch to determine when the Legislative Branch is in session.
The appointments have also prompted Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to seek specific details about the White House legal opinion.
Passage of a House resolution would do nothing to reverse the appointments. Nonetheless, Black said she hopes the House takes up her bill to let the White House know of its opposition.
“I hope the House considers my resolution as soon as we return to Washington so we can send a message to President Obama,” she said.