In the Senate, Democrats are refusing to adjourn for the August recess. Over in the House, Republicans are refusing to leave.
Senate Democrats, repeating a tactic they have used all year, staged a lightning-fast pro forma session Tuesday, a procedure that keeps the Senate from officially adjourning and stops President Bush from making “recess appointments” without Senate confirmation.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., took 28 seconds to gavel the Senate in and out of session. It’s a process that will be repeated every three working days to keep the Senate from going into recess until lawmakers return in September.
It was a different universe on the other side of the Capitol, where Republicans were in their third day of a protest on the House floor, demanding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi call the House back into session to vote on an energy bill that includes an increase in domestic oil drilling.
“This is a major message to America and America is listening,” said Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, one of 10 Republicans heading for the House floor Tuesday morning. The only people directly listening to the lawmakers were tourists filling the visitors’ gallery and seats on the House floor. Because the House has formally adjourned, microphones were turned off, the lights were dimmed and the TV cameras were off.