While most all government agencies and offices are closed for the Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. Senate is open for business. The Senate is in what is known as a "pro-forma" session as Republicans threaten to block adjournment. Such a session is not expected to produce any Senate actions or votes, but it is also expected to block President Obama from making any so-called "recess appointments." Article Two of the Constitution gives the president power to temporarily appoint officials while the Senate is in recess. But no recess means no appointments.
Senate Republicans said they were worried that Obama would grant a recess appointment to Elizabeth Warren, the president's picked to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The new bureau, created by last year's financial regulation law, has an official start date of July 21. During a March hearing, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau "the most powerful agency ever created."