Congress has been running around and installing child-safety locks on various aspects of the Presidency over the past few days. First, House Republicans announced they would not be sending an adjournment resolution to the Senate for the Memorial Day break.
“We will remain in pro forma session,” explained Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), who urged the House to take this remarkable step. “No controversial nominees will be allowed to circumvent the confirmation process during the break.” No recess means no recess appointments. Neat.
The move was directed in particular at Elizabeth Warren, currently the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – a new carbuncle growing from our insolvent, business-crushing government. Republicans don’t want Obama to install her as the permanent director without the appropriate confirmation hearings. Given the general history of his recess appointments, Americans should be thankful for their tenacity.
Yesterday, the House “passed – almost unanimously – a half-trillion-dollar defense spending bill that threatens to delay implementation of the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty between the U.S. and Russia,” as James Rosen of Fox News reports. “One provision of the bill forbids the use of federal funds to retire a nuclear warhead unless the heads of the Departments of Defense and Energy certify that the remaining U.S. nuclear arsenal is being modernized. Another bars the commander in chief from adopting a new nuclear targeting strategy, or from removing certain weapons systems from Europe, without notifying Congress.”
These are important measures, given the way Russia ate Obama’s lunch during the hastily-ratified START II treaty. Obama is still babbling about making nuclear weapons obsolete. Russia will be happy to watch him make America’s nuclear arsenal obsolete, provided he junks our missile defense technology along with it, or hands it over to them.
A group of Republicans joined Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois in writing a letter to Obama last month, demanding assurances he wouldn’t give Moscow our vital missile defense technology. They never got an answer.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes explained the importance of the “personal dynamic between the American and Russian presidents” to Fox News: “I think what we’ve seen happen is they can drive the relationship and they can push, frankly, their own governments who have habits, I think, of mistrust.” That’s why legislation to take certain options away from this President is so important.