George W. Bush must be fuming…
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has decided to keep the chamber in session over the Thanksgiving break to block President Bush from making any unsavory recess appointments while Senators are out of town.
In a statement inserted in the record Friday, the Majority Leader said he will hold the Senate in a series of pro forma or nonvoting sessions to prevent the controversial practice. In the statement, Reid argued that nominations need to get on track, and that Bush has not met the Democrats â€œhalfwayâ€ in agreeing to Democratically backed nominees to â€œimportant commissions.â€
â€œWhile an election year looms, significant progress can still be made on nominations,â€ Reid said. â€œI am committed to making that progress if the President will meet me halfway.
â€œBut that progress canâ€™t be made if the President seeks controversial recess appointments and fails to make Democratic appointments to important commissions.â€
Senate sources said Reid made the decision after he was unable to strike a deal with White House officials that would have allowed swift consideration of several key Democratic picks for the executive branch. In his statement, Reid points to the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Nuclear Regulatory Commission as examples where Democratic choices have not been moved along…
Democrats have feared Bush would look to use the upcoming break to appoint some of his own nominees that may not otherwise clear the Senate. In particular, concerns have centered on the appointment of James Holsinger as surgeon general, who has met criticism from gay rights organizations and opposition from key Senate Democrats.