Joining Republican presidential candidates and other GOP lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., blasted President Barack Obama for bypassing Congress and invoking recess appointments earlier this week.
The president sidestepped the Senate by naming three new members to the National Labor Relations Board and installing former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The White House claims Senate Republicans were dawdling the nominees for key oversight panels, but critics have ripped the unilateral decision as dubious because the Senate is in “pro forma session” and technically not in recess.
Guthrie says the appointments are unconstitutional and has solicited feedback from constituents via Facebook and Twitter.
“I believe President Obama violated the Constitution with “recess” appointments made when the Senate was not in recess. His unprecedented attempt to ignore the Constitution and usurp authority from the legislative branch has even been questioned by his own justice department,” he says.
The Constitution allows the president to “fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate” which most scholars believe helps the continuity of the federal government by temporarily filling positions.
However, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have criticized the use of this executive power as a tactic to appoint individuals who would otherwise be rejected by the Senate.
Former President George W. Bush made 171 recess appointments, including the controversial choice of John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador during his tenure. Since taking office President Obama has made 32 such appointments, but this round became a heated political debate for the White House.
From USA Today:
The president … pushed Republicans to give Cordray an up or down vote. Although Cordray had the support of Republican and Democratic attorneys general across the country, Senate Republicans blocked a vote on the nomination because of larger concerns about the lack of congressional oversight of the agency.
“When Congress refuses to act and as a result hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them,” Obama said in a speech in Shaker Heights, Ohio. “I have an obligation to act on behalf of the American people.”