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.
- Adjourn for More than Three Days (CongressionalGlossary.com)
- Pro Forma Amendment (CongressionalGlossary.com)
- Recess (CongressionalGlossary.com)
- Terms and Sessions of Congress
- Chapter 8.C. Recess Appointments; in Congressional Procedure
- “Recess Appointments: Frequently Asked Questions,” CRS Report RS21308 (16-page PDF))
- “Recess Appointments: A Legal Overview,” CRS Report RL33009 (38-page PDF)
- “Recess Appointments Made by President Barack Obama,” CRS Report R42329 (21-page PDF)
- “Temporarily Filling Presidentially Appointed, Senate-Confirmed Positions,” CRS Report RS21412 (13-page PDF)
- “Appointment and Confirmation of Executive Branch Leadership: An Overview,” CRS Report R44083 (20-page PDF)
- “Special Rules in the House of Representatives,” CRS Report 96-938 (130-page PDF)
- “Senate schedules pro-forma sessions to block Obama’s recess appointments,” by Alexander Bolton, The Hill, December 17, 2011
- “Obama’s recess appointments are unconstitutional,” by Edwin Meese III and Todd Gaziano, The Washington Post, January 5, 2012
- “Lame Duck Sessions of Congress, 1935-2020 (74th-116th Congresses),” CRS Report R45154 (36-page PDF)
- “House Committee Markups: Manual of Procedures and Procedural Strategies,” CRS Report R41083 (220-page PDF)
- “Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of House Bills,” CRS Report RS22477 (9-page PDF)
Senate Session 2011-12-20 (11:00:44-11:01:07)
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