US Politics: Trump threatens forced adjournment of Congress over stalled nominees

Trump may invoke a never-before-used power to adjourn Congress
Donald Trump believes the Senate is unduly blocking his nominations to key federal positions

Donald Trump could force the adjournment of both houses of Congress in a never-before-used power by a president. Tradefair brings you the latest from US Politics...

"The Senate should either fulfill its duty and vote on my nominees or it should formally adjourn so I can make recess appointments,"

- Donald Trump

US president Donald Trump has threatened to adjourn both houses of Congress in a bid to force a recess that would allow him to appoint new nominees to federal agencies.

It would be an unprecedented move and one likely to result in considerable consternation by both Democrats and Republicans alike, making use of a power never used before by any sitting president.

Trump calls for action on nomations

At present, more than 100 nominees are unable to be appointed to vacant positions due to a lack of confirmation in the Senate. It's a situation made all the more frustrating for the Trump administration through the practice of so-called 'pro forma sessions' where chambers are scheduled to meet but with little to no attendance.

According to the constitution, nominees to a number of senior administration posts must be confirmed by a majority vote in the Senate. However, pro forma activities have stopped this from happening up to now.

"The Senate should either fulfill its duty and vote on my nominees or it should formally adjourn so I can make recess appointments," Trump said. "We have a tremendous number of people that have to come into government. And now more so than ever before because of the virus and the problem."

An unprecedented use of authority

To address the issue of blocked nominations, Trump has stated he is now considering the use of Article II, Section 3, Clause 3 of the US constitution. However, no chief executive has ever used it.

This power enables the president to force the dissolution of both chambers of Congress - the House of Representatives and the Senate - if they cannot agree on a date to do so.

If invoked, it would allow the president to adjourn Congress and provide him an opportunity to make appointments in recess without approval from both houses.

"I have a very strong power. I'd rather not use that power, but we have way over a hundred people that we very badly need in this administration that should have been approved a long time ago," the president stated.

"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 we're given."

Trump's argument for using the power relates directly to the current coronavirus pandemic, as he claims that blocking his nominees has had a detrimental impact on the nation's ability to respond efficiently to the outbreak.

Coronavirus continues to take a considerable toll

Indeed, the announcement by the president comes at a time of considerable heartache for many Americans, with thousands of lives already lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a spiralling number of infections and the economy effectively stalled as a result, markets continue to face an uphill battle to restore losses that have mounted over recent months.

The Nasdaq Composite Index fell by 1.44% by midday on Thursday (April 16th), bringing to an end a small-scale rally that began earlier this month on the back of an announced multi-trillion dollar stimulus package for the US economy.

Despite recent gains, the Nasdaq remains more than 1,000 points down from the height of the market this year, which was seen towards the end of February. Elsewhere, the S&P 500 has witnessed similar activity, falling by approximately 500 points from mid-February to today.

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