Republicans have said those recess appointments broke an understanding that both parties had, under which recess appointments cannot be made unless the Senate is in recess. At the time in early January, both the House and Senate were holding pro-forma sessions, meeting briefly every three days at a minimum.

Issa's bill does not try to legislate the definition of "recess appointment," but it does try to codify an element of the understanding that was in place prior to the January appointments. Specifically, the short bill holds that salaries cannot be paid to recess-appointed officials until they are confirmed by the Senate, "unless the individual was appointed while the Senate was adjourned for at least 10 days."

It then defines a day of adjournment as "a day on which the Senate does not meet." That definition reflects what some legal experts saw as a rough guideline for defining a recess: a period of about 10 days without being in session.

Aside from Issa, the bill is sponsored by Reps. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdGOP tax bill hits professional sports stadium bonds Overnight Regulation: Treasury slams consumer bureau's arbitration rule | EPA considers repealing truck emissions rule | GOP senators offer wildfire management bill Texas lawmakers introduce bill to make hot air balloon rides safer MORE (R-Texas), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Connie Mack (R-Fla.), Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), John Mica (R-Fla.) and Dennis Ross (R-Fla.).