Liberals in the U.S. Senate are not willing to meet this month to discuss energy legislation - but are eager to use a childish maneuver designed solely to spite President Bush.
Most senators have joined most members of the House of Representatives in leaving Washington for a few weeks. But a few liberal senators drift into the Capitol every few days, keeping the Senate officially in session. All that is required is for a senator who happens to live near Washington, or one remaining in the capital this month, to go to the Senate chamber at least once every three working days, bang the gavel to declare the Senate in session, then gavel it back out of session.
On Tuesday, it took Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., just 28 seconds for the performance, according to The Associated Press.
Why bother? What's so important about keeping the Senate officially - if not really - in session? Nothing except the liberals' obsession with taking potshots at Bush.
A variety of appointments to positions in government, ranging from federal judgeships to high-ranking slots in the military, require confirmation by the Senate.
But when the Senate is in recess, presidents are permitted to make "recess appointments" without confirmation. Those appointed are permitted to remain in office only until the end of the current session of Congress (in this case, Jan. 20).
Are the liberals worried that Bush will appoint some unqualified person? Is there some specific potential appointee they want to block?
No, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told The Associated Press. He explained the maneuver to thwart Bush is simply to prevent "any mischief from happening."
Good heavens. Just when one believes he has witnessed the ultimate in Beltway pettiness, someone in Congress takes it to a new low. Senate liberals have done just that, making it clear that for them, extreme partisanship is an end in itself.