July 2, 2007

Making Congress Irrelevant

This from the Washington Post:
For Bush, the Fun Begins at Recess -- By Al Kamen
Friday, June 29, 2007

This summer -- the seventh of a presidency -- is when the Senate's confirmation machinery -- especially when it's controlled by the other party -- starts slowing to a crawl.

And it probably doesn't help that some Senate Democrats were infuriated first by the recess appointment of former U.N. ambassador John Bolton in 2005 and especially by the April recess appointment of Sam Fox, a big donor to Republicans and to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth anti- Kerry campaign, as ambassador to Belgium.

But not to worry! There's another great option: a recess appointment, which at this point is just as good as a confirmation, since an appointment will expire pretty much at the end of the administration.

President Bush, who's never been a fan of that annoying "advice and consent" notion the Framers favored. . . is a firm believer in the beauty and simplicity of recess appointments. And he's on pace to set a record for the number of such appointments, as the accompanying chart shows*.

As of June 4, Bush had filled 105 full-time positions with recess appointments. At a comparable point in his presidency, President Bill Clinton had used his recess appointment powers to install 42 people in full-time jobs. (And by then Clinton had dealt for four years with a GOP-controlled Senate.)

But Clinton accelerated the pace in December 1999 and by the end of his presidency had filled 95 full-time jobs and 45 part-time slots (on boards, commissions, councils and such) for a total of 140.

Bush has already named 171 people to full- and part-time jobs, and he's just entering the high season for presidential recess appointments -- the closing months of a presidency. President Ronald Reagan recessed 243 people to full-time and part-time jobs in his two terms -- 84 of them in his last year in office.

"There is a de facto freeze on confirmations after Jan. 1" of next year, said New York University professor Paul C. Light, an expert in these matters. "So if the nomination isn't done soon, the job isn't going to be filled through the Senate. After January 1, this administration will have more people on recess than a kindergarten." The rest will have "Acting" as their first names.

And recesses have never been easier. There's no constitutional definition of how long a Senate recess must be before the president can make an appointment, and the length has shrunk dramatically in recent years.

"Even a Sunday fishing trip counts as a recess these days," Light joked. "The Senate is losing its authority to confirm presidential appointees through recess," he said, a situation that would have the Framers "spinning in their graves."

The Bush administration has responded that the way to handle this is to exempt a great number of nominees from confirmation.
[emphasis added]

Click here for the complete text.
*And here for the chart.
Yet another case of the hackles on the back of my neck rising.
Hitler also made the other legislative entities in his country's government irrelevant That was before he abolished them altogether.


Anonymous said...

Oh please. Of course it wouldn't occur to the WaPo (or, perhaps, yourself) that the ;evel of political acrimony and accompanying obstructionist sentiment might be fertile ground for a logical increase in recess appointments?

Gimme a break.

two crows said...

and, of course, Clinton wasn't hampered by THAT little problem--only a Congress that was so intent on impeaching him that they looked for cause to impeach for 6 years and finally stooped to his personal life to find something.
talk about political accrimony!

poor little G.W. dealt with a rubber-stamp Congress for his first 4 years and STILL stands head-and-shoulders above all others-- including Clinton --in this matter.

[meanwhile, I stand behind my views enough to sign this with my online handle-- not hide behind 'anonymous']

Robert Rouse said...

I generally deal with comments like that by starting, "Anonymous, if indeed that is your real name . . . " But seriously, nice post!

two crows said...

hey, Robert!
LOL! wish I'd thought of that!
I may have to steal that rejoinder in the future.

Anonymous said...

[meanwhile, I stand behind my views enough to sign this with my online handle-- not hide behind 'anonymous']

The courage which you display in your use of a pseudonym is staggering...just staggering...lol

two crows said...

thought you might take that way out.
try clicking on my profile??? you'll find out plenty about me if you bother to look.
and, if you bother to read the rest of the blog, you'll find a lot, as well.
meanwhile, being an older woman who lives alone, I don't publish things like my name, address, phone #, etc. the photo is of me, btw--
where do _I_ look to find out anything about you? under 'Anonymous'?

Larry said...

Don't let them push you around in any way Two Crows.

You give an inch and you know the rest.

two crows said...

hey, Larry--
well, I _did_ let the comments stray off thread-- but, hey, I started it. :)

meanwhile, I did find it funny that the guy [[assuming, assuming]] accused me of hiding when it's my blog and my views that are posted here regularly for all to see. . . .

and _he's_ [sic] the one who wandered in here casting aspersions.

TomCat said...

Well, TC, if anonymous worked in the White House, you'd be exploring sunny Gitmo by now. I'd like to see the recess appointment law change with a maximum term for the appointee set at 60 days.

two crows said...

hee hee!
I think if the WH had noticed my [or your] blog by now we'd both be down there already.

writing about how we disagree with what they're doing is a terrorist act, dontchaknow.

TomCat said...

TC, using traceroute I am able to confirm that my packets often flow through the NSA tracking node in ATT-SFO. No doubt you and I are both on a list. Our safety is in numbers. There are thousands of bloggers who oppose the Reich.

two crows said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
two crows said...

scary, TC--
numbers didn't stop em from interring all those Japanese Americans during WWII.

TomCat said...

Good point, but they could call on good old US racism st stir up support against the yellow peril. The disappearance of thousands of bloggers might be a harder sell.