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Saturday, August 5, 2017

US senators head home, block Trump recess appointments!

WASHINGTON: The US Senate adjourned on Thursday leaving Donald Trump deprived of any major legislative victory heading into summer break, as lawmakers also blocked the president from making so-called recess appointments during the rest period.

The move, by unanimous consent of the 100 senators, serves as a check on Trump as he mulls firing his Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Trump has considered replacing his embattled top law enforcement official amid broadening investigations into allegations that his aides coordinated with Russia to tilt last year’s election in his favor.
The president has strongly criticized Sessions for recusing himself from the probe, and speculation swirled over whether Trump would ram through a replacement during the break, without Senate confirmation.
But that avenue closed when Senator Lisa Murkowski, adjourning the Senate for the day, locked in nine “pro forma” sessions over the next month.
Such sessions typically last a minute or two, with no business conducted.
Holding them keeps the Senate open during the vacation period, denying the president recess appointment opportunities.
The House of Representatives adjourned for its break last week.
As summer-bound US lawmakers exit Washington, the numbers are telling: with Trump in office seven months, and his Republican Party controlling all three branches of government, Congress has passed zero pieces of major legislation.
The Republicans’ over-promised effort to repeal and replace Barack Obama’s health care reforms collapsed in embarrassing shambles.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had hoped to triumph on a health bill last month, leaving time to accomplish other goals including raising the US debt ceiling and working on budget bills for fiscal year 2018.
But the health care fiasco sucked up weeks of debate time, and its cascading effect stalled other legislation.
Republicans do claim some victories, including confirming conservative judge Neil Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court, rescinding several Obama-era regulations and improving conditions for veterans.
One top accomplishment was the Russia sanctions bill that passed with overwhelming support, leading Trump to sign the measure into law despite not backing it.
And on Thursday Republicans got unanimous consent from the chamber to confirm more than 60 nominees, including US ambassadors to Britain and Canada and a new representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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