Yes, Congress Is in Session (for a Few Seconds, Anyway)
Published: August 5, 2011
WASHINGTON — “Thonk!”
That’s the sound of the gavel smacking down as the people’s business got underway Friday in the United States Senate. It was also the sound, 59 seconds later, of the end of the workday. Mission accomplished!
That’s all the time two senators took to approve an agreement ending a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, which had been left in limbo as Congress left town a few days ago.
To the rest of the world, Congress appears in recess. […]
But Congress is actually in pro forma session, so at least one member of each chamber must show up every three days, gavel the session in, and, barring any bits of minor business, bang the gavel a few moments later and head back home.
According to the Constitution, neither chamber of Congress may adjourn for more than three days without permission of the other. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, did not seek a resolution of adjournment this week, because he knew that the House would not go along, lest President Obama grab the opportunity for a recess appointment of any of the many nominees being blocked by Senate Republicans. […]
Read the full story here: The New York Times