Congress out until April, but Senate Republicans preventing recess appointments

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WASHINGTON—Congress is currently out of session.The Senate will return on April 4 and the House of Representatives will return on April 12.

During this period, in order to prevent President Obama from making a recess appointment, Senate Republicans are utilizing a recently develop strategy of holding pro forma sessions of the Senate. Basically, this is a gavel-in gavel-out process where a member of the Senate will gavel a session in, make a statement, and if there are no business at hand, the senator will bang the gavel again and head home. The U.S. Supreme Court confirmed this process in June 2014. Ironically, then Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) developed and instituted this process during the last couple of years of George W. Bush's presidency in order to prevent Bush recess appointments. Now, the Republicans are utilizing it.

It has been nine days since President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. The longest a Supreme Court nominee had to wait for confirmation is 125 days when Louis Brandeis was confirmed in 1916.