Black Introduces Resolution Disapproving of Obama’s Recent Presidential Appointments

Jan 10, 2012

Washington, D.C. (Tuesday, January 10, 2012)—Today, U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-TN), introduced a House resolution disapproving of President Obama’s so-called recess appointments, including the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as well as three members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  She was joined on the resolution by 71 Republican colleagues.

“It’s astounding to me that the president is claiming these are recess appointments and within his authority, when Congress was not in fact in recess,” said Black.  “These appointments are an affront to the Constitution.  No matter how you look at this, it doesn’t pass the smell test.  I hope the House considers my resolution as soon as we return to Washington so we can send a message to President Obama.”

While recess appointments are within the President’s power, the appointments in question were made while the Senate was in pro forma session and the House had not consented to a Senate adjournment.  Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution clearly states that “Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.”

However, the White House is asserting that the Executive Branch can determine when the legislative branch is or is not in session—an interpretation that many scholars say is without precedent.  The constitutionality of the appointments would most likely be decided in the courts, if a private party brings suit based on a CFPB or NLRB ruling.  

“While the Administration is using these appointments as an election-year ploy, there are legitimate concerns that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as currently established, has no Congressional oversight and is not even subject to the appropriations process,” said Black.  “No executive agency should be immune from the checks and balances our Founders intended.  What’s more, the NLRB appointments were jammed through by the president before the Senate even had the chance to consider the appointees.  Their names were only put forward on December 15th, a mere two days before the Senate recessed for the holiday.  The president is clearly out of bounds here and should not be allowed to skirt the Constitution as he pleases.”