CARRIE JOHNSON, for NPR: A lot of people think Washington resembles a high school and politics can be a food fight. Well, here's a high-minded legal dispute that may prove them right. Turns out, the debate over Mr. Obama's new appointments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board comes down to the meaning of a single word: recess. White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler.
KATHY RUEMMLER: Our view is that a pro forma session at which the Senate, by its own definition, is not conducting any business and is unavailable to provide advice and consent on the president's nominees is for all practical and functional purposes in recess.
JOHNSON: Ruemmler says those so called pro forma holiday sessions, where a lone senator appears in the empty chamber to bang the gavel and take off are just a gimmick - a gimmick that robs the president of his power to keep the government moving. She says Mr. Obama used his constitutional authority sparingly, and with great care.
RUEMMLER: There are a lot of appointees who have been languishing. These were folks who were necessary in order to make the agencies be able to function.
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