December 18, 2001 - Washington Post : Bush may use Recess to Install Nominees

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 12 December 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: December 18, 2001 - Washington Post : Bush may use Recess to Install Nominees

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 12:54 pm: Edit Post

Bush may use Recess to Install Nominees

Read this story from the Washington Post on the possibility of Bush going over Chris Dodd's head and giving Otto Reich a "recess appointment" at:

Bush may use Recess to Install Nominees*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Bush may use Recess to Install Nominees

Daschle will not call pro forma session

By Mike Allen

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 18, 2001; Page A04

President Bush is considering using the Senate's holiday recess to install temporarily two controversial nominees who have not won confirmation, administration officials said yesterday.

The decision, which could inflame relations with Senate Democrats, would reflect the Bush administration's determination to make muscular use of all presidential powers. That approach was clear early in his administration but has become more entrenched since he declared war on terrorism.

Under a constitutional provision known as a recess appointment, the president can bypass confirmation when the Senate is in recess and put nominees in office through the end of the congressional session. An administration official said the White House is considering use of the power for several nominees, including his choices for the National Labor Relations Board, because there are "certain positions for different boards and commissions that need to be filled so they can continue operating."

The official said recess appointments remained under consideration last night for Eugene Scalia, a son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Bush's choice for Labor Department solicitor, and for Otto J. Reich, Bush's nominee for assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs.

Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that it is unlikely Scalia will be confirmed.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, has said Reich's nomination is "not going anywhere."

Democrats said they will contend Bush is subverting the legislative process if he makes recess appointments of controversial nominees. But President Bill Clinton used the mechanism to install Roger L. Gregory as the first black judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Maryland and Virginia, after the Republican-controlled Senate stalled his nomination. Bush renominated Gregory, who was confirmed for a lifetime appointment in July.

The White House's contemplation of bold use of recess appointments follows a swift deterioration in relations between Bush and Daschle, who had been publicly pleasant for much of the year. Vice President Cheney said Dec. 9 on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Daschle had taken an "obstructionist" approach to economic-stimulus negotiations, and administration and Republican Party officials have been attacking Daschle daily for more than a week.

Bush plans to speak to a House Republican meeting on Wednesday. White House officials said a major purpose is to thank lawmakers for their help in enacting his agenda. But these officials said the president will also discuss unfinished business, and his appearance is designed partly to try to put the onus on Daschle to pass an economic stimulus package before year's end.

Republican sources said the White House is quite conscious that Daschle would like to run for president in 2004, and said Bush had ordered the tougher public line shortly after Thanksgiving. Officials in both parties noted how unusual it is for the Bush administration to issue attacks as blistering as those on Daschle.

"It is rare," a senior administration official said. "It's because these issues are very important to the president, and he's going to work hard to enact them. It's not personal."

Some Senate Democratic leaders had hoped to thwart recess appointments by not officially adjourning, but instead remaining in a pro forma session through the holidays, as first reported by Roll Call. Administration officials said that parliamentary move would not prevent recess appointments, since a new congressional session begins each year.

Daschle rejected the idea last night. He had jokingly told reporters Friday that it is harder to make recess appointments when there is no recess, but his staff said he did not seriously consider the move.

Aides said he will leave the Senate in session "subject to the call of the chair" because of the war on terrorism. "I think it's important for us to be able to take care of whatever unfinished business there is," Daschle said at his Friday news conference.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide also noted the "need for Congress to keep visibility and not cede the whole terrain to Bush, given the power of his bully pulpit."

Daschle's plan would allow recess appointments, according to another Senate Democratic leadership aide. "Senator Daschle is not going to hold the Senate in any form of session that would prevent the administration from making recess appointments," the aide said. "However, given . . . our strong commitment to process pending nominees, Senator Daschle doesn't anticipate the need for recess appointments."

The Senate's holiday recess is expected to begin late this week. Congress reconvenes Jan. 23.

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