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A Way to End the Confirmation Gridlock

Warren Belmar July 27, 2017
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This is a letter to the editors of the Wall Street Journal by Federalist Society expert, Warren Belmar. He has graciously contributed the article to our blog.

To the Editors:

Your recent editorial (Running the Schumer Blockade, July 11, 2017) summarized the problems the Trump Administration is having in bringing on board President Trump’s nominees for senior Administration positions requiring the advice and consent of the Senate. In so doing, you called for the GOP to stop Senator Schumer’s orchestration of Democratic abuse of the Senate rules to delay and obstruct confirmation of almost all of President Trump’s nominees, and to consider Senator Langford’s proposal to reinstate the Senate rule which allowed former Senate Majority Leader Reid to limit post-cloture debate for most nominations to eight hours.

I propose consideration of another way of breaking the gridlock. If Democrats refuse to afford Republicans the opportunity to conduct Senate business under the very rule they enjoyed before they lost their Senate majority during the last years of the Obama Administration, and the Republican leadership is unwilling to change this Senate rule in the middle of the term, I propose that the Senate announce its intention to recess for the last two weeks of August. That recess would allow President Trump, pursuant to Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, “to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.”  If the prospect of a recess doesn’t result in agreement to reinstate the prior rule, the Senate would recess as planned and President Trump would then be able to exercise his constitutional power to make recess appointments. Thereafter, the Senate would exercise its advice and consent role with respect to the recess appointees, and thereby allow those confirmed to remain in office beyond the ending date of their recess appointments.

Warren Belmar

 

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