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President Trump repeatedly shows he isn’t afraid to play hardball.
During his press briefing today, Trump announced that if the Senate would not perform its duties and vote on his political appointments, he would invoke his constitutional authority to adjourn Congress.
The President is currently spending his days combating the COVID outbreak, however many positions in his administration remain unfilled because they require confirmation from the Senate. Under Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution, the President has the authority to adjourn Congress on “extraordinary occasions.”
Surely an almost complete shutdown of a country’s economy counts as such an occasion?
Take a look at the President’s announcement below:
Fox News provides the following on the President's announcement:
President Trump announced during a White House address Wednesday that he is considering adjourning Congress and using its absence to make political appointments.
"If the House will not agree to that adjournment I will exercise my constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers of Congress," he said.
The president claimed his administration is understaffed and blamed congressional Democrats for holding up his confirmations and stonewalling his agenda.
Trump added that he has the constitutional authority to dismiss both chambers and accused Congress of failing the American people and shirking their responsibilities as elected leaders.
"The current practice of leaving town while conducting phony, pro forma sessions is a dereliction of duty that the American people cannot afford during this crisis," he said. "It is a scam, what they do."
Trump also declared that the country has "passed the peak" in the number of cases for COVID-19, and said further announcements about new guidelines would be shared with the public on Thursday.
“The battle continues but the data indicates that we have passed the peak,” he said.
“We think some states may be able to open before May 1,” Trump added. “We want to get our country open again.”
Naturally, those on the left shared their outrage on Twitter:
Many on Twitter shared their support for President's position, however, and agreed that Congress either needs to get to work or adjourn:
The Hill also reported on Trump's warning to Congress:
"The Senate should either fulfill its duty and vote on my nominees or it should formally adjourn so I can make recess appointments," Trump said. "We have a tremendous number of people that have to come into government. And now more so than ever before because of the virus and the problem."
Lawmakers in both chambers are not expected to return to the Capitol until May 4 but both the House and Senate have been conducting pro forma sessions in the meantime. Those sessions prevent Trump from making recess appointments.
"The current practice of leaving town while conducting phony pro forma sessions is a dereliction of duty that the American people can not afford during this crisis," he said. "It is a scam, what they do. It’s a scam. And everybody knows it and it’s been that way for a long time."
Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution grants Trump the power to "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."
That means that in order for the president to step in and dismiss both, the GOP-controlled Senate would have to adjourn while the Democrat-held House objected. Senate Democrats also have procedural tools to prevent the Senate from adjourning.
The National Constitution Center noted that "no President has ever exercised" the authority.
"Perhaps it’s never been done before, nobody’s even sure if it has," Trump said. "But we’re going to do it. We need these people here. We need people for this crisis, and we don’t want to play any more political games."