WASHINGTON, D.C. - MARCH 20:  A person walks by as the sun rises near The United States Capitol Building on March 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Senate will hold a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch and FBI Director James Comey will testify before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

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Recess appointments let a president install nominees who normally must be OK'd by Senators

GOP leaders plan to continue to follow the practice of holding "pro forma" sessions

Washington CNN  — 

Senators are planning to continue procedural moves to prevent the Senate from formally adjourning for recess next month in order to prevent President Donald Trump from making recess appointments, when the chamber eventually adjourns through the Labor Day weekend.

Using the threat of a filibuster, Democrats plan to force the Senate to hold pro forma sessions — a practice both parties have carried out to block recess appointments from presidents of opposite party, Democratic and Republican aides say.

Recess appointments let a president install nominees who normally must be confirmed by the Senate; their terms would run through the end of the “next session” of the Senate, but the “pro forma” sessions essentially means the Senate is never in recess.

While Republicans control the Senate now, the only way they can formally adjourn – which would set up a period when recess appointments are allowable – is to pass an adjournment resolution. The problem is that Democrats can filibuster that resolution, which they would do to prevent Trump from making recess appointments.

The maneuver started when George W. Bush was President and Democrat Harry Reid was the Senate majority leader, then continued under Barack Obama.

Obama tried to challenge the practice when he made a series of recess appointments despite the Senate meeting in pro forma sessions every three days. But the Supreme Court ruled against him saying the Senate was not technically on recess unless it was away for at least 10 days.