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Sen. Webb comes to work, blocks recess appointments

Today the House and Senate are empty, and President George W. Bush took time from his holiday vacation in Crawford, Texas to condemn the assassination for former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto this morning.

But although Washington is a virtual ghost town this week, there was some brief, but important, business in Congress yesterday. A single lawmaker came to work yesterday: junior Virginia Sen. Jim Webb,whose job it was to gavel the Senate in for 10 seconds in order to block President Bush from making a recess appointment in the Senate’s absence.

This is not the first time the Senate has made such a move. At issue this time, Bush’s possible recess appointment of Steven G. Bradbury as assistant attorney general, a nominee most Senate Democrats oppose.

But the pro forma Senate session could backfire on the lawmakers, the Associated Press reports, giving Bush the ability to kill two pieces of legislation – the FOIA reform bill and a gun control measure – with a pocket veto.

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