Trump Threatens to Adjourn Congress By Invoking Never-Used Constitutional Provision
President Donald Trump has threatened to adjourn Congress in order to appoint nominees to federal offices without the Senate. Trump made the suggestion on Wednesday because the Senate is in pro forma sessions but not actually sitting.
“As the entire US government works to combat the global pandemic, it is absolutely essential that key positions at relevant federal agencies are fully staffed, and we’re not allowing that to take place through our Congress,” Trump said.
“They’re just not giving it to us. We have many positions that are unstaffed because we can’t get approval.”
He complained that 129 nominees were ‘stuck in the Senate because of partisan obstruction’.
“The Constitution provides a mechanism for the President to fill positions in such circumstances,” Trump went on.
“The recess appointment, it’s called. 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 we’re given.”
Technically, the Constitution says the President ‘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.’
However, the ‘Case of Disagreement’ is the key phrase here. The power has apparently never been invoked and is untested in the courts. Attempting to adjourn Congress would likely necessitate Mitch McConnell recalling the Senate in order to create a disagreement with the Democratic-controlled House.