Jonathan Bernstein has caught Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) making what is, in his estimation, the "best self-refuting argument ever." From her press release, announcing her plan to introduce a resolution that will wag a finger at the recent appointments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board:
"It's astounding to me that the president is claiming these are recess appointments and within his authority, when Congress was not in fact in recess," said Black. "These appointments are an affront to the Constitution. No matter how you look at this, it doesn't pass the smell test. I hope the House considers my resolution as soon as we return to Washington so we can send a message to President Obama."
Har. Of course, what gives Black a wobbly leg to stand on is that congressional Republicans have been staging pro forma sessions -- which technically keep Congress from going into recess -- so that the president can't use a recess appointment to appoint the people whose up-or-down confirmation vote they've been obstructing anyway. (This is, in all fairness, a trick the GOP learned from noted trickster Harry Reid.)
That said, if you walk up to reporters on the Capitol Hill beat and ask them, "Hey, where is Congress?" they will all tell you that Congress is in recess, precisely the place that Rep. Black understands herself to be, while complaining that she isn't.
And that's your Petty Congressional Bureaucratic Death Match update of the day! [Hat Tip: The Awl]
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