While most all government agencies and offices will be closed over the Memorial Day weekend, the Senate floor will remain open for business.
The Senate will be in what is known as a “pro-forma” session because Republicans are threatening to block adjournment, say aides of Senate leadership.
Such sessions will not produce any Senate action, since most Senators are traveling back to their home states. Typically, Senators who live in neighboring states such as Virginia or Maryland open floor proceedings, then quickly close them with no business being conducted.
Insiders report Senator Mark Begich of Alaska presided over the Senate today for about thirty sessions. Aides said it was because he missed the last flight to Alaska.
The reason Republican Senators are threatening to block adjournment is twofold. First, they are irritated Senate Democrats have not produced a budget plan. However, the primary reason is to block the possible appointment of former Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, President Obama’s pick to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Warren has also been mentioned as a possible opponent of Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.).
Unlike the House, the Senate is tasked with confirming executive branch officials nominated by the president. Article II of the Constitution gives the president power to temporarily appoint officials while the Senate is in recess.
Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking member of the budget committee expressed frustration to the Senate adjourning without passing a budget.
“This Monday I announced that I would object to any effort to adjourn the Senate for recess as long as the Democrat Majority refused to produce a public budget and refused to allow the Budget Committee to meet to work on one,” Sessions remarked on the Senate floor Thursday night.
“Instead of presenting an honest plan to confront our spiraling spending and debt, the Majority Leader made a mockery of the budget process, crafting a careful plan to prevent any budget from moving forward in the Senate. The entire execution of this plan was designed for political gain and in disregard of the national interest,” said Sessions.
Warren was not the only possible nominee Obama could have appointed over a recess. Craig Becker has been nominated to lead the National Labor Relations Board, which is involved in an on-going labor dispute with Boeing. Becker is former counsel to the AFL-CIO.