WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is threatening to use what he says is his constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers of Congress to clear the way for recess appointments to his administration. This would bypass the regular confirmation process.
Trump said lawmakers have made it difficult to run the federal government, saying “every week, they put up roadblocks.”
The president says that the current practice of conducting “phony, pro-forma” sessions of Congress so that he can’t make recess appointments without Senate approval is a dereliction of duty that the American people cannot afford during the coronavirus crisis.
“If the House will not agree to that adjournment, I will exercise my constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers of Congress,” said Trump. “The current practice of leaving town while conducting phony pro-forma sessions is a dereliction of duty, that the American people cannot afford during this crisis. It is a scam."
He complains that some of his nominees have waited years for approval, though previous presidents have leveled similar complaints.
“The Senate should either fulfill its duty and vote on my nominees or it should formally adjourn so that I can make recess appointments,” said Trump. “We have a tremendous number of people that have to come into government and now more so than ever before, because of the virus and the problem.”
Trump blamed Senate Democrats for blocking his nominations, but there are many vacancies because the administration hasn’t selected anyone to fill the positions. Some of the people he has nominated haven’t yet been given confirmation hearings in the Senate, which is led by the Republicans.
Under a never-exercised power in the Constitution, Trump does have the authority to shut down Congress if leaders of the House and Senate can’t agree on whether to adjourn, The Washington Post reports.