Obama Doubletalk, Part 2: Recess Appointments

In an ongoing theme today, President Obama threatened Republicans that he would use recess appointments for several nominees that are being held up by Republican Senators.

“In our meeting I asked the congressional leadership to put a stop to these holds in which nominees for critical jobs are denied a vote for month,” he said. “Surely we can set aside partisanship and do what’s traditionally been done with these nominations.”

“If the Senate does not act, and I made this very clear,” Obama continued, “I will consider making several recess appointments during the upcoming recess because we can’t afford to let politics stand in the way of a well functioning government.”

Read more: Neoavatara


February 10, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,


  1. What’s wrong with that?

    Comment by The BookGuy | February 10, 2010 | Reply

    • There’s nothing illegal about it, but he’s not allowing the legislative process work. The down side of it, is that the appointment only lasts a year since it did not go through the Senate.

      Comment by MTR | February 10, 2010 | Reply

  2. Presidents have used recess appointments before. And the appointments can be extended in the same way.

    Comment by theothergardener | February 10, 2010 | Reply

    • Not quite. “To be confirmed, the appointment must be approved by the Senate by the end of the next session of Congress (which in current practice means by roughly the end of the next calendar year), or the position becomes vacant again”

      Otherwise, why would any president bother with the approval process if all he had to do is use his executive order?

      Comment by MTR | February 10, 2010 | Reply

      • Right, genius, the position becomes vacant again, and the president can submit the same name, and use the off-session rule, again. Breaks occur all the time.

        Comment by theothergardener | February 11, 2010

      • I’m sure he could try it, but if he did, he would eventually suffer the wrath of his own party if he continued handling things without Congress. Don’t forget, we do have three branches of government. And despite popular opinion, the Presidency only has as much power as Congress gives him. The president can veto, but a veto can be overriden.

        Comment by MTR | February 11, 2010

  3. “There’s nothing illegal about it, but he’s not allowing the legislative process work.”

    Here’s a quote:

    “I sincerely hope the White House does not circumvent the will of the Senate by appointing him when the Senate is out of session,” Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, said.

    Today a guy named becker was up for a vote. He got 52 votes for, 33 votes against (some senators weren’t there due to the snow). That’s 52 out of 85, that’s 61% of the vote. But that wasn’t enough, he didn’t get seated.

    If 52 out of 33 votes isn’t enough of a majority, the process isn’t working. 😛

    Comment by The BookGuy | February 10, 2010 | Reply

    • I never said it was illegal.

      In order for a vote to pass, there has to be 60 votes for cloture. 15 senators did not vote. Those are the rules of the Senate. The system worked because it’s the senate who designed those rules.

      Comment by MTR | February 10, 2010 | Reply

  4. I apologize if I inferred you said it was illegal. That was not my point at all.

    My only point is that I don’t think the process works. The rules were obeyed, but the process is broken. In a democracy, for votes as mundane as this one, requiring a super majority is, I think, a broken piece of the process. As such, I don’t have a problem with the President pushing it through.

    As a matter of consistency, I was glad when Bush pushed through his tax cuts (through reconciliation) and I’ll be happy if Obama pushes through his healthcare bill. Washington is, and has been, fundamentally broken. Politicians following thru on their campaign promices is good for america, because it sets the precedent that if a bad bill is passed, voting in 51 senators from the other party should be enough to overturn it.

    Comment by The BookGuy | February 10, 2010 | Reply

    • The rules WERE obeyed. The rules required 60 votes for cloture. There were only 52. 15 Senators were not there. The Democrats needed 8 more votes.

      It’s the Senate themselves that write these rules. In this case, it was the Democrats who decided to keep the 60 vote rule. So it went against them this time. So what? Let’s say hypothetically that those 8 Senators had still voted against Brennan (who is an SEIU man and would have pushed the Union agenda onto the labor force). Would you still have complained about the rules?

      Again, it’s up to the Senate to change the rules. And I assure you, if the Republicans get back in power in 2010, they’ll be glad that it’s in place.

      Regarding the Health care bill… don’t have a business with employees, do you? My business deals with working with small businesses and the concensus is that if the bill is passed, one of two things will happen: 1. They will stop paying the present premiums and throw their employees into the government option and pay the penalty (which will be cheaper) or 2. Close their doors. So so much for “keeping your insurance company and doctors.” And that will prove to me more expensive for the tax payers since the small businesses will no longer be paying the premium.

      Comment by MTR | February 10, 2010 | Reply

  5. Actually, Senate rules carry over from one session to the other unlike the House and it takes a Supermajority to change them.,,

    And it’s been changed several times.

    “Would you still have complained about the rules?”

    And we did, just like you’re complaining about it now.

    If the vote was 52 to 48, and the majority of the duly elected Senators decided that he was a good person for the job (I have no opinion whether or not he is), then yes, the system is broken if he doesn’t get the job. This guy’s job is not the equivalent of a constitutional amendment.

    Why do you have problems with rules, especially rules that the Senate IMPOSED UPON THEMSELVES?

    “into the government option”
    You’re clearly not paying attention to the debate. That was cut out months ago.

    Obama doesn’t think it is.

    Comment by The BookGuy | February 10, 2010 | Reply

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