Capitol Hill

Reid Squashes Recess Appointments

The world’s most deliberative body just accidentally hamstrung itself. President Obama’s nominee for the Office of Management and Budget, Jack Lew, is being held hostage by Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who refuse to lift their hold on Lew until Obama lifts his moratorium on Gulf Coast drilling. There was widespread speculation that Obama would push Lew through during Congress’ recess, but now Harry Reid has instituted an arcane Senate rule that will prevent him from doing so. This wasn’t his intent: Ironically, Reid’s move was meant to keep Republicans from further tying up Congress by forcing Obama to re-nominate all his current nominees when session resumes. By holding multiple weekly pro-forma Senate sessions during the recess, Reid ensures that Obama’s nominees will carry over to the new session, but he also blocks Obama’s ability to circumvent Landrieu and Vitter. The Office of Management and Budget has been without a director for weeks, and has nothing to do with offshore drilling.