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Trump to Pelosi and McConnell: Adjourn, or I Will Adjourn You

Today’s Campaign Update (Because the Campaign Never Ends)

This action is three years late in coming. – At the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, President Donald Trump laid out the pattern of obstruction of his judicial and key administrative nominees that has been waged by congressional leaders of both parties for the last three years and three months. Throughout that period of time, both houses of congress have played a despicable game of refusing to declare themselves fully in adjournment even during times, like now, when they have left town for weeks at a time.

The game consists of having a handful of members present in either the House or Senate chambers to gavel the body into a “pro forma” session for a few moments each day before immediately adjourning until the next day. In this way, congress has for 39 months denied this President and this President alone the right to make recess appointments of administrative political nominees he needs to fill key positions within the executive branch of government. While congress has played this game for a few months here and there in the past, this effort to obstruct the proper staffing of a presidential administration for an entire term is unprecedented in U.S. history.

The President only mentioned Nancy Pelosi by name, but for two solid years this game was led by then-Speaker Paul Ryan in the House, and for the last 39 months, Mitch McConnell has played along as Senate Majority Leader. This is a classic case of the DC Swamp protecting the Swamp, with the Democans and Republicrats coordinating efforts designed to stymie an outsider President. President Trump, previously seeing no crisis and because McConnell had been moving quickly on his judicial nominees before the Wuhan Virus crisis hit, has played along in order to avoid a major conflict with McConnell.

But now we are in the midst of a crisis, one that requires all hands on deck to deal with, and the President finds himself running short of hands due to this disgraceful congressional obstructionism. Because of this present situation, Mr. Trump informed McConnell and Pelosi that the time for this game has run its course, and that, unless they agree to declare congress fully adjourned quickly, he will exercise his constitutional powers that exist under Article II, Section 3 to do so himself so that he can have his nominees, some of whom have been held up for years, in place and working.

Here’s a clip, followed by a transcript of his remarks:

Transcript:

As the entire US Government works to combat the global pandemic, it is absolutely essential that the key positions at relevant federal agencies are fully staffed, and we’re not allowing that to take place through our Congress.

They’re just not giving it to us. We have many, many positions that are unstaffed because we can’t get the approvals. The Democrats are holding us up. We cannot get approval.

We’ve gotten judges because we go through the process. I guess we’re up to 248 federal judges that we’ve gotten because we focus on it. We take the maximum time because no matter who the judge is, they take vast numbers of days and hours until approve. It leaves, no time left for others. Very unfair system.

If a judge is going to be approved in one hour in one session, it doesn’t matter. They’ll take the maximum number of hours and days. You’re talking about days to get one judge approved, and we’re close to 250 judges, but because of the way they’re doing it, there’s no time for anybody else in. Many of these people have been waiting for two and a half years.

We have a couple that have been waiting for longer than that. There are currently 129 nominees stuck in the Senate because of partisan obstruction. Many are nominated for vacancies that must be filled to assist with the coronavirus crisis and the resulting economic challenges, and I’ve read over the couple of years, well, I didn’t fill positions. I don’t fill positions. In some cases we don’t need the position, and I’m all for that, but in many cases you do, but we can’t get them approved by the Democrats. They won’t release them.

The positions include the Director of National Intelligence, two members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Financial Markets of the United of the United states, and the Undersecretary of Agriculture responsible for administering food security programs. And Sonny Perdue, who’s going to be speaking today, saying, “Please can I have this man? Can I have this particular person approved as soon as possible?” He’s been telling me that for a long time, and the Democrats won’t allow it to happen.

Again, every single judge, every nominee we have goes through a maximum, or at least they go through a long process. So it takes days and days and there’s no time left and it’s just a concerted effort to make life difficult.

An example is Michael Pack. He’s my nominee for the CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and he’s been stuck in committee for two years preventing us from managing the voice of America. Very important. And if you heard what’s coming out of the voice of America, it’s disgusting. What things they say are disgusting toward our country, and Michael Pack would get in, he’d do a great job, but he’s been waiting now for two years, can’t get him approved.

The senators left Washington until at least May 4th. The Constitution provides a mechanism for the President to fill positions in such circumstances. The Recess Appointment, it’s called.

The Senate’s practice of gaveling into so-called proforma sessions, where no one is even there, has prevented me from using the constitutional authority that were given under the Recess 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.

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. We have to do it, and we have to do whatever we have to do. They’ve made it very, very difficult to run government. I don’t think any Administration has done anywhere near what we’ve done in three and a half years, but every week they put up roadblocks, whether it’s Russia, Russia, Russia, or whether it’s impeachment hoax or whatever it may be. It’s always roadblocks and a waste of time.

If the House will not agree to that adjournment, I will exercise my constitutional authority to adjourn both Chambers of Congress. The current practice of leaving town while conducting phony, proforma sessions is a dereliction of duty that the American people cannot afford during this crisis. It is a scam. What they do. It’s a scam and everybody knows it, and it’s been that way for a long time, and perhaps it’s never done before. It’s never been done before.

Nobody’s even sure if it has, but we’re going to do it. We need these people here. We need people for this crisis, and we don’t want to play any more political games. I’ve been waiting for two and a half years, three years for some of these people. And they’re great people. They left law firms, they left jobs, they gave up everything to do it, and they’ve been waiting for three years, two and a half years, two years, one year to get approved.

It’s ridiculous. And everyone knows they’re going to be approved, but there’s only so many hours in the day when you go through judges and you go through lengthy hearings on judges that they know should be approved immediately, and they could do it in one session, and they could do it in one hour. And instead it takes them many days.

[End]

For those who are curious, here is the full text of Article II Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution [highlights added]:

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Note that this is an authority that most believe no U.S. president has exercised, mainly because no U.S. president has ever faced the level of depraved obstructionism that President Trump has had to deal with. But the language is quite clear and unambiguous, and the present crisis certainly qualifies as an “extraordinary Occasion” as the framers of the Constitution envisioned.

Mitch McConnell, as is his habit, will no doubt take all of this in stride and attempt to negotiate some accommodation with the President that will be designed to protect the Senate’s authority here. But when San Fran Nan heard the President’s remarks, no doubt while setting next to her pair of $15,000 Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezers while enjoying a pint of her designer ice cream, this is what her head did:

Oh, this is gonna be glorious.

That is all.

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