While President Donald Trump has done everything in his power to circumvent our legislators, it seems the Senate has finally found a way to restrain his influence.
The Senate made a move Thursday to officially block Trump from making appointments during recess – right before the lawmakers returned home for their August break.
The proposal required approval from every senator in Congress and will require none “pro-forma” sessions during the recess. These sessions amount to brief, even only minute-long meetings that will take place every three business days and allow senators to block any appointments Trump tries to push through without their consent.
Senators left Washington Thursday, and most aren’t expected to return until after Labor Day.
The same tactic has been used against numerous previous presidents, including former President Barack Obama when Republican senators feared he’d fill a vacant Supreme Court seat without their vote.
Congress’ current effort, however, comes in response to the months of drama surrounding Trump’s fluctuating cabinet. After weeks of ridiculing his attorney general Jeff Sessions, many in the Senate were worried Trump would fire Sessions and replace him while senators were on recess.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said such moves by the Senate to prevent Trump’s circumvention are “vital.”
The Senate, he said, has “tools in our toolbox” and they are “ready to use every single one of them, any time, day or night.”
“It’s so vital to the future of the republic,” Schumer added.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stopped short of admitting the purpose of the pro-forma sessions, saying that “if the Senate doesn’t adjourn, typically pro-forma sessions happen every three days.”
So they didn’t do it to block Trump, one aide said Friday, but rather because the Senate hadn’t agreed to adjourn.
Trump has other currently empty positions that need filling as well, including secretary of Homeland Security after he made John Kelly his chief of staff.