Reid employed a rarely used parliamentary tactic of scheduling “pro forma” sessions twice a week until early December, when Congress returns for three weeks. Under that plan, a few senators, perhaps one Democrat and one Republican, will briefly open the chamber for debate on any topic during the next two weeks.
The move blocks Bush’s ability to make so-called recess appointments, which would allow the appointees to serve out the remainder of Bush’s term.
Under law, a president can use a recess appointment if the Senate is adjourned more than three days without reconvening on the fourth day. The interim appointments last through the current and next sessions of Congress.