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Pro Forma Session Is Admirable Pro-Formance By Harry Reid

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It's about time that Sen. Harry Reid got some cajones, stood up to Bush and did something positive to protect and serve his constituents:  The American People!

It's also a terrible state of the affairs of state when the leader of the Senate has to stick his finger in the stubborn, my-way-or-the-highway presidential eye by declaring a pro forma session of Congress during the Thanksgiving recess.

Having a president who can't ever be trusted to tell the truth or keep a promise is bad enough, but when the people have sent a clear message to Congress to do their will by bringing the boys home, spending out tax dollars here and not over there, and change the direction of the country...and Congress allows the president and his Republican yes men to buffalo, impede and stall at every political turn and maneuver...that is unforgivable!

Geesh.  I was wondering how many times Bush has to hit Reid over the head with his lies before Reid realized there's no comprising with Dubya and he can't be trusted to do anything he says he'll do.

Reid got it.  By George, he finally got it, and before adjourning the Senate last night, Reid declared a pro forma session of Congress to last until after the Thanksgiving break, thereby destroying any chance of Bush making any recess appointments that would surly have upset the collective stomach of senators and voters while they gorged on turkey. 

What a Thanksgiving treat that would have been if Reid would not have skewered and roasted Bush's plan.

I'm shocked, and I don't shock easily, that Bush held to his deal with Reid not to make any recess appointments during Congress' August vacation, because his nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney General has not been approved at the time.  Rightly or wrongly, Reid promised to push through Mukasey's nomination along with others that had stalled if Bush promised to pass on the temptation to make Mukasey a recess appointment.

Bush sticking to the deal was shocking in of itself.

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In spite of repeated efforts, this time there was no making a deal with an intransigent Bush, and no trusting that Bush would not make a slew of recess appointments if Reid did not declare a pro forma session.

At the head of the list is the odious nomination of Kentucky cardiologist James Holsinger as surgeon general.  Holsinger has a notorious reputation for being anti-gay, and for a paper he wrote in 1991 about homosexuality and health.   Holsinger has received public criticism and damnation from gay rights organizations and is opposed by key Senate Democrats.

Although White House sources said Holsinger hadn't been discussed as a possible recess appointee, Reid could not trust that to be true, nor should he have.

Burned by Bush's past recess appointments, including Judge Charles W. Pickering, Sr. to a federal appellate court seat in early January 2004, and not being able to reach an agreement with the White House not to make any recess appointments, Reid had no choice but to enact the seldom-used pro forma law.

According to the Congressional Research Service, any time the Senate is adjourned for more than three days,  the president is allowed to make a recess appointment for cabinet officials and judges without confirmation by the Senate.  

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Congressional rules allow the Senate to be adjourned for three full days without being considered in recess, and Bush cannot use the interim appointments as long as the chamber is opened every fourth day.  Reid set a schedule of pro forma sessions on Tuesday, Nov. 20 and Friday, Nov. 23; and Tuesday, Nov. 27 and Thursday, Nov. 29, according to the Washington Post.  The Senate will be back in session on Monday, Dec. 3.

“With the Thanksgiving break looming, the administration informed me that they would make several recess appointments,” Reid said. “I indicated I would be willing to confirm various appointments if the administration would agree to move on Democratic appointments."

“They would not make that commitment,” Reid added.

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Sandy Sand began her writing career while raising three children and doing public relations work for Women's American ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation through Training). That led to a job as a reporter for the San Fernando Valley Chronicle, a (more...)
 

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