The outbreak of the coronavirus has led lawmakers to look for ways to stay safe.
Recently, Congress extended its recess until at least May 4, meaning that lawmakers will not be in Washington, D.C. for confirmation hearings, votes, or oversight hearings.
During a press conference on Wednesday, President Donald Trump lashed out at lawmakers for holding Pro Forma sessions, which means that Trump cannot make recess appointments.
“The Constitution provides a mechanism for the president to fill positions in such circumstances — the recess appointment it’s called,” Trump said. “The Senate’s practice of gaveling into so-called Pro Forma sessions where no one is even there has prevented me from using the Constitutional authority that we’re given under the recession provisions.”
“The Senate should either fulfill its duty and vote on my nominees, or it should formally adjourn so that I can make recess appointments,” he added.
To try to start filling positions, Trump threatened to use his presidential authority to adjourn Congress so he can make recess appointments.
“If the House will not agree to that adjournment, I will exercise my Constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers Congress. 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 what they do.”
Watch the video below:
President @realDonaldTrump threatens to use "constitutional authority to adjourn both Chambers of Congress" over nominees being held up:— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 15, 2020
"The current practice of leaving town while conducting phony Pro Forma sessions is a dereliction of duty." pic.twitter.com/YaSH0vMPlQ
Jonah Goldberg of The Dispatch noted that the Constitution does technically give the president the authority to adjourn Congress. In a series of tweets, he laid out — according to scholars — how such a maneuver would work legally.
So I'm texting legal types. So far consensus seems to be that Trump could make Congress adjourn but only if McConnell is in on the scheme by refusing to come to an agreement with the House. So it wouldn't really be Trump forcing anything (though he likes words like "force"). 1/4— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) April 15, 2020
Later in the press conference, Trump said the backlog of nominees is “embarrassing.”
He admitted that such a move would likely be the first time a president has exercised that authority.