A nine-second session gaveled in and out by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., prevented Bush from appointing as an assistant attorney general a nominee roundly rejected by majority Democrats. Without the pro forma session, the Senate would be technically adjourned, allowing the president to install officials without Senate confirmation .
The business of blocking Bush’s recess appointments was serious. It represents an institutional standoff between Congress and the president that could repeat itself during Congress’ vacations for the remainder of Bush’s presidency.
Way to go Webb! Warms the cockles of my little black heart don’t you know? The individual in question is Steven Bradbury, acting chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Counsel. Bush nominated Bradbury for the job and asked the Senate to remove the “acting” in his title. Seems Bradbury signed two secret memo’s in 2005 that allowed the CIA to use “harsh interrogation techniques” on those damn terrorists.
Another interesting part of this cat and mouse game is that a bill sent to a president automatically becomes law 10 days after he receives it, excluding Sundays of course, unless he vetoes it:
That could be the fate of two bills Congress passed last week. One growing out of the Virginia Tech massacre makes it harder for people with mental illness records to buy guns. The other makes it easier for journalists and others to obtain government documents through the Freedom of Information Act. The FOIA bill, for example, would become law on New Year’s Eve if not vetoed before then, according to Senate Judiciary Committee officials.
The gun bill is H.R. 2640. The Freedom of Information Act bill is S. 2488.
Artwork courtesy of The Worried Shrimp