Where's all that Obama Money Going? | Main | Top Headline Comments 08-04-08
August 04, 2008

Can President Bush Call Congress Back into Session?

Got an email this morning from AOSHQ reader Brennan:

People have been talking about the President calling Congress back to discuss gas prices for days now, using his powers in the Constitution. Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), however, Tweeted this last evening:

"We would ask the Pres to call Congress into special session but the Senate used a sneaky trick to prevent this - they are still in session"

Is that legally the situation? Is President Bush unable to call Congress back (even the House) because the Senate is technically still in session?

What he describes---Congress not "officially" ending its session so as to prevent the President from doing something---has occurred several times before. Most recently, this past December, Senate Democrats left one member in Washington during the holiday break, who would call the chamber to order for a few minutes each day in order to keep President Bush from making recess appointments. (Democrats claimed it would also keep him from using a pocket veto, but that was not the case.)

Assuming Rep. Culberson is right about the Senate being in session, I think he's wrong about calling a so-called "special session." The Constitution says that the President "may, 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..." So whether the Senate is technically still in session or not, the President cannot be prevented from calling the House back. The House has never, in the history of the Republic, been called into extra session by itself. But there is no constitutional barrier that would prevent the President from issuing a Proclamation (the usual means of convening an extra session) calling them back.

Whether the Senate could be convened depends on whether it is in session. Culberson seems to think that Senate Democrats have technically kept that chamber in business. I'm not sure. By 48-40, the Senate voted to adjourn this past Thursday. It sounds to me like they're not in session. For what it's worth, the last time an extra session was called, President Truman reconvened the 80th Congress after it had adjourned to escape the heat of Washington in summer. Sounds familiar, no?

The real question is whether Congress has actually adjourned, or whether it has merely taken a "recess." If it's just a recess, I don't think the president can call them back.


digg this
posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:51 AM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
CrotchetyOldJarhead: "I suspect the Meagain and the 12 angry harlots int ..."

tdatsd: "woohoo top ten ..."

freaked: " Here we go. The vindictive bitch Meagain is tryin ..."

Nevergiveup: " Usually my President has at least one tweet poste ..."

Duke Lowell : "Monday. Ugh. ..."

wing: "Mornin Horde Happy Monday ..."

Bruce: "JJ is woke. Nood! ..."

freaked: "The press conference is being hosted by an org cal ..."

Vic We Have No Party: "Good Morning Morons ..."

Bruce: "Chicago season of giving still going on. 5 dead 13 ..."

Bruce: "Well, I'm disappointed. Usually my President has a ..."

K. Spacey [/i]: " Sexual allegations against Trump? He just needs ..."

Recent Entries
Search


MuNuvians
Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
News/Chat
Archives
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64