Washington, D.C. - Today, Idaho Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo joined a group of 34 Senators, led by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), in writing to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) to ask that he clarify "serious inconsistencies" in his past statements about the use of recess appointments. In January, President Obama circumvented the Constitution and the Senate by appointing Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and three new members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) despite the fact that the Senate was in legislative session.
In the letter, the Senators note that "it was under [Majority Leader Reid's] leadership that the Senate first began to use pro forma sessions to shorten recess periods in order to prevent President George W. Bush from making recess appointments beginning in November 2007," and that "this became the standard practice for the Senate during the rest of President Bush's term in office, during which time no recess appointments were made."
However, the letter notes that on several occasions Majority Leader Reid publicly supported ignoring the Constitution and Senate precedent that, the Senators note, Majority Leader Reid created, and supported President Obama's decision to bypass the Senate and make these recess appointments.
The Senators add that it "appears that [Majority Leader Reid] believe[s] the importance of preserving the Senate's constitutional role in the nomination and appointment process varies depending on the political party of the President," and outlined specific questions they would like Majority Leader Reid to answer to clarify his position on President Obama's unconstitutional appointments.
In addition to Crapo and Risch, Senators signing the letter included Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Miss.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jim Moran (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Pat Roberts (R-Kans.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
A signed copy of the letter can be viewed here.