Pro Forma Session / Recess Appointment (

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Pro Forma Session / Recess Appointment

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) chairs this 9-second session of the United States Senate on December 26, 2007, to prevent recess appointments by President Bush.


Pro Forma Session: From the Latin, meaning “as a matter of form.” A brief meeting (sometimes only several seconds) of either the House or Senate with little or no business conducted. Pro forma sessions became particularly controversial in the Senate after 2007 when used to prevent the president from making recess appointments.

Usually held to satisfy the constitutional obligation that neither chamber can adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other.

Recess Appointment: A temporary presidential appointment, during a recess of the Senate without the advice and consent of the Senate, provided for in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution.

Also see




Senate Session 2011-12-20 (11:00:44-11:01:07)





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