U.S. Rep. Diane Black has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives disapproving of appointments made by President Barack Obama in recent weeks.
Obama recently appointed a new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and filled three positions within the National Labor Relations Board.
While the Obama administration insists the appointments were constitutional, several members of Congress from both the Democratic and Republican parties have said they believe he has overreached his authority.
As of this week, more than 65 members of the House have joined with Black to support the resolution.
“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,” Black said. “These appointments are an affront to the U.S. 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, D.C., so we can send a message to 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 yet consented to a Senate adjournment.
“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,” according to Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution.
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, Black said.
“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,” she said. “No executive agency should be immune from the checks and balances our Founding Fathers intended.”
She said the Labor Relations Board appointments were jammed through by the president before the Senate had the chance to consider the appointees, adding their names were put forward Dec. 15, two days before it recessed for the holidays.
“The president is clearly out of bounds here and should not be allowed to skirt the Constitution as he pleases,” she said.