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Reid plan may kill future Bush recess appointments

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Published: Monday December 4, 2006

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A plan engineered by "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to eliminate all extended recesses except for the traditional August break during the 110th Congress may have an added benefit for Democrats," Roll Call reports.

"It could be a back-door way of preventing President Bush from unilaterally installing controversial nominees in key executive and judicial branch posts through recess appointments, a favorite tool of the president over the past six years," John Stanton writes.

Conservative columnist Robert Novak wrote about Reid's plan the other day.

"Sen. Harry Reid, leading the Senate's new Democratic majority, is framing next year's schedule in a way that will make it difficult, if not impossible, for President Bush to give recess appointments to nominees blocked for confirmation," Novak wrote.

Excerpts from Roll Call article:


Reid’s scheduling decision could complicate Bush’s efforts to fill top spots during the final two years of his presidency, when high turnover among Cabinet-level officials and other high-profile political positions traditionally is common.

With perhaps 180 or more confirmable positions coming open in January, the administration could find itself forced to either negotiate in earnest with Senate Democrats to fill spots, convince top officials to postpone leaving for a lucrative career in the private sector until August or else make significant use of the Vacancies Act, which allows presidents to fill slots by granting officials from within the various departments and agencies “acting” status as short-term caretakers.

Democrats deny that Bush’s pattern of making often controversial recess appointments in any way shaped Reid’s decision to eliminate long breaks. “It’s not because of the recess [appointment] business,” one leadership aide said. “It’s because [Reid] wants to get things done.”