No Pay For Recess Appointees: The Landry Amendment Adopted
Congressman Jeff Landry (R, LA-03) has fired another salvo at President Obama’s recess appointments: offering and passing an amendment that defunds the salaries of Presidential appointees made without the advice and consent of the Senate.
“The Founding Fathers clearly intended recess appointments be made for the continuity of government during Senate recesses not to appoint individuals whom the vast majority of Americans oppose. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has established a track record of waiting until Senate recesses to appoint individuals that cannot be confirmed by the Senate,” said Landry.
The Landry Amendment to H.R. 2354 (the Energy & Water Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2012) prevents recess appointees at the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Land Management from getting paid. While whipping for votes, Landry quoted former Senator William Fessenden (R, ME), who offered a similar amendment in 1864: “It may not be in our power to prevent the appointment, but it is in our power to prevent the payment; and when the payment is prevented, I think that will probably put an end to the habit of making such appointments.”
Excited by the House’s vote tally of 227-193, Landry concluded: “The abuse of the recess appointment process not only endangers the rights of our constituents, but also degrades the American public’s perception and confidence in our government. So I am excited that the House has taken another step to halt the exploitation of the recess appointment process.”
Past congresses have taken steps to address this issue. In fact, during the Civil War, bipartisan majorities in Congress enacted an appropriations bill which included a provision very similar to my amendment in order to prevent President Lincoln from making recess appointments. The appropriations rider added to the FY1864 Army Appropriations Act remained in effect until 1940.
In June, Landry led a coalition of 77 freshmen in a letter to House leadership requesting all appropriate measures be taken to prevent any recess appointment by the President for the remainder of the 112th Congress: http://landry.house.gov/press-release/congressman-landry-leads-assault-end-recess-appointments.
Earlier this month, Landry presided over a pro forma session in the United States House of Representatives preventing Congress from going into recess and blocking President Obama from issuing recess appointments: http://landry.house.gov/press-release/landry-presides-over-house-blocks-recess-appointments.