Trump Threatens to Adjourn Congress If Senate Doesn’t Vote on His Nominees

Melanie Arter | April 15, 2020 | 8:19pm EDT
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(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Congress has been slow to approve President Donald Trump’s nominees with some people waiting two and three years to complete the process, so Trump threatened Wednesday to adjourn Congress.

“As the entire U.S. government works to combat the global pandemic, it is absolutely essential that the key positions at relevant federal agencies are fully staffed, and we’re not allowing that to take place through our Congress. They are just not giving it to us. We have many, many positions that are unstaffed, because we can't get the approvals,” he said.

“The Democrats are holding us up. We cannot get approval. We've gotten judges, because we go through the process. I guess we are up to 448 federal judges, and that we’ve gotten because we focus on it. We've taken the maximum time, because no matter who the judge is, they take vast numbers of days and hours to approve and leaves no time left for others,” the president said.

“If a judge is going to be approved in one hour, in one session, it does not matter. They will take the maximum number of hours and days. You are talking about days to get one judge approved, and we are close to 250 judges, but because of the way that they are doing it, there is no time for anybody else, and many of these people have been waiting for two and half years. We have a couple that have been waiting for longer than that,” he said.

“They’re currently 129 nominees stuck in the Senate because of partisan obstruction. Many are nominated for vacancies that must be filled to assist with the coronavirus crisis, and the resulting economic challenges,” Trump said.

Those positions include: director of national intelligence, two members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, assistant secretary of Treasury for financial markets of the United States, and the under secretary of agriculture responsible for administering food security programs.

Trump also noted that his nominee for CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors has been stuck in committee for two years.

“An example is Michael Pack. He’s my nominee for the CEO of the broadcasting board of governors. He's been stuck in committee for two years preventing us from managing the Voice of America, very important, and If you heard what's coming out of the Voice of America, it's disgusting. The things they say are disgusting toward our country. Michael Pack would get in, he would do a great job, but he's been waiting for two years, can't get him approved,” the president said.

“The Senate has left Washington until at least May 4th. The Constitution provides a mechanism for the president to fill positions in such circumstances, the recess appointment it's called. The Senate's practice of gaveling into so-called pro forma sessions where no one is even there has prevented me from using the constitutional authority that we are given under the recess provisions,” he said.

“The Senate should either fulfill its duty and vote on my nominees or it should formally adjourn so that I can make recess appointments,” the president said. 

“I don't think any administration has done anywhere near what we've done in three and a half years, but every block, every week they put up roadblocks. Whether it's Russia, Russia, Russia, or impeachment hoax or whatever it may be. It's always roadblocks and a waste of time,” Trump said.

The president said he will adjourn both houses of Congress if the House doesn’t agree to an adjournment. He called the practice of leaving town while the Congress conducts “phony pro-forma sessions” a “dereliction of duty.”

“It is a scam what they do. It's a scam, and everybody knows it, and it's been that way for a long time. Perhaps it's never been done before. Nobody’s even sure if it has, but we are going to do it. We need these people here. We need people for this crisis, and we don't want to play anymore political games,” Trump said.

“I've been waiting for two and a half years, three years for some of these people, and they’re great people. They left law firms. They left jobs. They gave up everything to do it, and they’ve been waiting for three years, two and a half years, two years, one year to get approved. It’s ridiculous -- and everyone knows they're going to be approved,” the president said.

“There's only so many hours in the day when you go through judges and you go through lengthy hearings on judges that they know should be approved immediately and they could do it in one session, They could do it in one hour. Instead it takes them many days,” he said.

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