Right before memorial day recess, Republicans decided to prevent the Senate from completely adjourning by forcing three pro-forma sessions over the next 10 days.
Many in Congress expected President Obama to use the recess to appoint Elizabeth Warren as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is set to regulate Wall Street and open its doors on July 21.
These “pro forma” sessions, in which the chamber officially opens for the day and then gavels to a close right away, can be handled by two lawmakers and aides.
Although Warren is the bureau’s chief architect and Democrats’ first choice to run it, Senate Republicans signaled they would wage a bruising confirmation fight if Obama nominated her. Instead, Obama tapped Warren to get the bureau up and running, and deferred his selection of a nominee.
One unnamed Democrat told Politico that a recess appointment over Memorial Day was unlikely even before Republicans made it impossible. “I don’t think [Republicans’] procedural tactics in this recess made any difference, other than showing how determined they are to obstruct the bureau,” the aide said during an interview.
A summer recess appointment is more likely, the aide told Politico, though it’s unclear whether Obama will nominate Warren.
But the Senate’s GOP latest maneuver — which can be repeated in future recesses — might have slammed the door on that notion, leading many to now wonder what a headless CFPB looks like according to the Hill.