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Bush Won't Call for Special Session

From the Department of Unsurprising News comes this dispatch: President Bush will not call Congress back into session in August to hold a vote on opening more land to oil drilling.

As they have been giving speeches on the House floor during The Phantom Session (come on, wouldn't you buy this T-shirt?), House Republicans have also called on Bush to use his constitutional authority to bring the chamber back into session to confront the drilling issue. But White House spokesman Tony Fratto says that's not happening; he points out that even if Bush brought the House back, he couldn't force the majority to schedule a vote.

"We don't have plans to call Congress into session -- it won't make a difference if Democratic leaders are unwilling to bring up a bill for an up-down vote," Fratto said, according to The Hill.

Lest your recall of the Constitution is not perfect, Article II, Section 3 says the president "may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them." The last time this happened was almost exactly 60 years ago, on July 26. 1948. Of course, Bush couldn't call the Senate into session right now because that chamber technically never adjourned. Instead, it went into pro forma session so Bush wouldn't be able to make any recess appointments of executive branch officials.

Bush could call the House back in, but he won't. So it's up to the House GOP to keep up their unusual series of floor speeches. As to Capitol Briefing's earlier question of whether today's session would get much coverage, Republican aides point out that CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC have all done stories on it today. And John McCain has also gotten into the act, calling on Congress to come back to deal with energy (you can watch video of it here). McCain even says he would come back to Washington for the session, which is a pretty big deal, since the Senate has been dealing with energy quite a bit in recent weeks and McCain hasn't voted since April 8th.

Democratic leaders, meanwhile, sent all Democratic press secretaries a set of talking points today on the "GOP gas price stunt," making the case that it "provides Democrats with the opportunity to force Republicans to address key questions about their voting records and history of taking millions of dollars in campaign contributions from big oil companies." The memo includes a list of the Republican lawmakers who spoke Friday, along with all the contributions they've gotten from the oil industry and their votes against the energy bills Democrats have brought forward this year.

By Ben Pershing  |  August 4, 2008; 3:25 PM ET
Categories:  Agenda , Branch vs. Branch , House  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Phantom Session, Part II
Next: Capitol Briefing Takes a Brief Nap


Oh some on Ben,so aren't you aware that it
was her madness Madame Speaker The Darling
of the Democrats Nancy Pelosi,who turned
out the lights in the House Chamber so that
Her Madness Nancy Pelosi,could go and "Try
to Save the Planet," just like Pelosi is
now claming God told Pelosi to do so?...
So why should Lame Duck President and Liar
in Chief George W Bush order Congress back
into Session,when His Arrogance Der Leader
Messiah Barack Hussein Obama didnot go tell
George W Bush and VP Draft Dodger Cheney
to do so now then? So look Ben don't you
get the message and the picture here by now
that after all His Exalted Arrogance Democrat Messiah Barack Hussein Obama is
GOD now? No Messiah Barack Hussein Obama 08

Posted by: Sandy5274 | August 4, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Dems are ruining this country! They're in Congress you're getting preview, they're dumb!

Dumb Dems!


Posted by: theaz | August 4, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

If the Senate is still in session, why don't a half dozen Republicans show up and take it over?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Don't give up the fight!!! American's who want to drill are with you, so please don't give up!

Posted by: len1gk | August 4, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Does the action of our politcal leaders remind you of anything? Kindergarten..perhaps? They all(Repubs & Dems) are so busy fighting among themselves that they can't get anything accomplished. If the Democrats are FOR it, the Republicans are against it. OUR country will continue to go down the toilet while they're busy pointing their grubby fat little fingers at each other while sitting in the time-out corner. It's really getting sickening. If these people can't work together as AMERICANS for the betterment of this country then we need to kick them all out and start with people who can. Forget Democrats and Republicans....get the job done or get out !!

Posted by: Denise | August 4, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

>>If the Senate is still in session, why don't a half dozen Republicans show up and take it over?
Why don't the Republicans mosey over to the Senate and do....what?
Just take it over?
The Master at Arms of the Senate would summon the Capitol Police.
Listen, they can hang from the drapes in the House and fling poo at the speakers lectern all they want, it's their chamber. As long as they don't cause property damage, they can stage a Grease revival.
I would point out that the House is not in session, which makes this a sort of tale told by a fool, full of wind and fury but signifying nothing.
It is good theater, when do they burn a Nancy Pelosi effigy and hurl their bras and draft cards into the flames? Will their be tear gas? Snarling dogs? Fire hoses?
Or is it just a lot of hanging from the drapes, flinging poo.

Posted by: Dijetlo | August 5, 2008 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Are operators standing by?!?!?! I have my credit card ready!!!!!

Posted by: BobT | August 5, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Congress has ignored energy policy for YEARS. What would be the point of a special session? They are incompetent.

We need more drilling. The airlines are going to be destroyed along with Detroit. America will be left in ruins. But maybe that is what the anarchists in Congress want so they can all blame each other.

Posted by: Jimbo | August 5, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing to me that our elected officials in know the ones: the men and women who were elected to do the will of the people, the representatives who refuse to do anything about illegal immigrants, refuse to secure our borders, refuse to do anthying about gay marriage (even though the majority of the people are against it), refuse to come up with an energy plan, refuse to etc.etc.etc. How these elected officals all of a sudden are experts on energy, oil drilling, the weather, security, Mars, and any other topic you want to discuss is unbelievable.How did we get to be so blessed? I have heard that we have so little oil in the USA that it would only contribute to a 1 cent decrease in gasoline prices in twenty years. What a crock! The state of Colorado alone has more oil and other energy sources than Saudi Arabia. What is the real reason the Dems don't want to drill???? Wake up America!!!!

Posted by: Joseph | August 5, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Mike Pense is awesome and along with the others they have stood up for all of us. Saying what most of us want ,more oil and cheaper fuel prices. Winter is coming quickly and high heat bills.School is starting and all the costs of putting our kids back-to-school. Bush needs to make this call NOW!

Posted by: Maggie in Indiana | August 5, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

we the people do no longer hold our own goverment for nothing. what a waist this govermnet is to the americans.

when will americans wake up and take control of them. take control of our goverment that is trashing the average americans.

this will cost americans 5 trillions dollars. and that money is going to china..think americans think..

if americans want to have a real say on what will happen to our country. all they have to do is take all there money out of markets and banks,credit unions, tell your employer to start taken out for 10 12 15 dependents, so you get every penny you make up frount instead of letting the goverment use it for war,and pork.

then and only then will we have a say in what we want from our goverment. this is a peaceful REVOLUTION WE CAN DO..


i forgot one thing. replace all members our the house and senate, if they have more than 5 years in get them out. this is the only way to really change it.

Posted by: david a belanger | August 6, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

The reason the Democrats don't move on anything is because they would lose an issue. Take Social Security for instance. The Democrats will never allow meaningful (and needed) reform because that would rob them of the ability of running out every election year and claiming the GOP will take grandma's SS check away. High oil prices? It's the "speculators" fault, of course! The "speculators" who vote GOP will be this season's bogeyman.

The Democrats say even if we drill it won't help us for ten years. I'd like to remind them of the story that their hero, JFK, like to tell about the French marshal who asked his gardener how long it would take a tree he wanted planted to mature. When the gardener replied that it would take a hundred years, the marshal replied, "plant it this afternoon, there is not a moment to lose."

Posted by: bob kelly | August 7, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Finally the people of this country are getting their backs up about those people who are suppose to be running this country. I think it's long past due. Once they get elected they do just as they dam please. All we are is a source of income for the goverment. Without our tax dollars, there would not be a goverment. We need people who has worked for a living, who knows where a dollar comes from to be in office. What ever happened to the old ways, they use to work. And another thing I think the two party system we have in this country is not effective any longer, the days are gone when we have to buy a ford or chev. Also I think that 4 years in any govt. office should be the maximum. They stay in so long they think it's there just due...

Posted by: erbear | August 7, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe all the anti Democrat rheteric I am reading.

Remember it was Republican oil men and a Republican dominated Senate and Congress for 6 of the last eight years which ruined our economy gave tax breaks to big oil and no relief for middle class America. Yes then blame the Democrats.

The moral majority who gave us scandle after scandle. Yes Democrats guilty here too but Democrats do NOT claim to be Moral Majority and spokes people for Christian America.

It is a fact al poloticians lie, but a proven fact Rebublicans lie more and are better at it.

You can't drill your way out of this mess and there are lands leased to the oil companies that have oil but are not being used. Start there before getting any new off shore sources which will destroy enviornment. This will continue more use of fossel fuels which leads to further global warming.

The problem was recognized 30 years ago and next to nothing done. Also McCain was in Senate 26 of those 30 years. All he did was vote for Bush's failed polocies which we now have trillions of dollars in deficet. So much for fiscal conservatives.

We need to continue the job started 2 years ago and wipe out those Repulican log sitters and non voters on energy like their proposed leader McCain who has not voted since April 08.

Posted by: Voter | August 7, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Ben, it is interesting that you point out McCain's voting record, but fail to mention that Barack has not voted since February!

Posted by: TD GB | August 7, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Its funny now that the pigeons have come home to roost regarding our decision to go to war (voluntarily and with malice aforethought, I might add), all the republicans can do is whine and blame the nominally in control democrats for not extracting them from their self made mess instantly. War requires sacrifice and I don't recall Bush or the Republican controlled Congress asking the public to save or conserve anything to help the country (and therefore economy) during this time of war.
In fact, Bush and Congress, from an economic standpoint, didn't ask the American people to commit to any kind of sacrifice to help the economy during wartime. How many new McMansions were built far from the city centers and how many tax-break Hummers were bought to act as the new suburban station wagons. So, Republicans, it is indeed a bit disingenuous to pretend that the Democrats are the demons holding the country's energy policy hostage. Simply observing Cheney and his hyper-secret meetings with the same "Big Oil" companies reaping world record profits show Republicans, and this president specifically, have generally been in the pockets of "Big Oil", so why don't they use their intimate contacts with the oil companies to do something about the prices? They can't, its a world-wide phenomenon. More people, more cars, more industries, finite oil. How is this confusing?

Posted by: Tennessee Bill | August 7, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I have to admit the "hanging from the drapes, flinging poo" mental image of the republican minority in a blinded and silenced chamber of congress is one of the best images I have been given in ages. Thanks for a good laugh.

Posted by: Tennessee Bill | August 7, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Hello from Public Advocate USA. We managed to get some cameras inside the capital despite Mrs. Pelosi’s attack on freedom of speech. Here is an interview that we got with Virginia Foxx of North Carolina and Lou Gohmert of Texas. Lou Gohmert Virginia Foxx

Posted by: PublicAdvocate | August 8, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Let's make a connection here, shall we? The last time Republicans got their undies in a bunch to this degree, was over the Terry Schiavo case. Sadly, that was a lost cause with no merit, and a waste of time and money that Republicans used to make a big show. Similarly, offshore drilling is a lost cause with no merit . Where was your outrage when Bush and Cheney were lying us into a fake war to drive up the price of oil? Demanding offshore drilling is a ruse at best, and another Republican give-away to Big Oil who's doing 12 billion in profits quarterly and getting subsidized with our tax dollars. You're okay with that, but not with solving the problem longterm? Conservation will get us closer to energy independence than destroying our coastlines. Don't you Luddites want to create jobs, and use technology to invent new and cheaper sources that don't involve fossil fuels so we don't have to keep coming back to the same oil issues? But if the past seven years is any barometer of the problem solving abilities of Republicans, I'd say 60% of the country hasn't learned the painful and wasteful lessons of the conservative party's backwards thinking. Science bad. Oil good. You off shore drilling fanatics sound like Neanderthals.IT WON'T SOLVE THE PROBLEM. NOT EVEN TEMPORARILY. So give it up and admit you don't know any of the facts about what off shore drilling versus conservation/new energy sources actually will and will not do. Isn't it time Americans went back to their roots of innovation? Oil is a dinosaur. It's like we're in the horse and buggy stage of energy, and real problem solvers in solar, wind, etc. are telling us, we can drive cars and not have to deal with all that smelly crap. Drilling offshore will lead to more smelly earth destroying pollution. Think people, think! The only way for our country to retrieve its greatness is to get off of oil ASAP. Making oil irrelevant will make our enemies irrelevant. Get it?

Posted by: mary ann callan | August 9, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Let's talk about DEM's And Repubicans.
First of all..Dem's look for hand outs..Want an easy way for people not to work. In other words they avoid problems of
the American people. They believe that we should give anyone that does not believe in work "pay them" They believe No Military.
Look at what Clinton done to our Military "BRAC" Dems have no back bone..Just want every one to get well fare
and SS and do nothing to solve the problems
that we presently have. Dems want the glory
But the Dems have been in power for the last 2 yrs??? Look @ gas prices? Look @ the housing market?? What have the Dems done for me since they have the power? NOTHING!!!! like they always do..there just a Bump in the road..causing a lot of problems that they created!

Posted by: Blackkwahu | August 10, 2008 5:03 AM | Report abuse

What do you call the massive corporate handouts that republicans trip over themselves to give to their biggest contributors? The republican corporate welfare handouts (through tax breaks and favorable legislation) make the democrats poverty welfare handouts look like loose change. Granted the welfare system is abused, but be honest, it is abused on both sides of the political fence. As for SS, Social Security is not "given" to you by the gov't, you paid in and then you get it back. How is that welfare? It is actually an involuntary loan to the government, payable to you at a future date.
And since the dems don't have a veto-proof majority in Congress, the Repubs love to swing the "haven't done anything" bat, while simultaneously torpedoing any meaningful legislation that the Dems try to pass. The "what have they done for me" whine makes you sound like your own version of a democrat. I hope you see the irony in that, but I am sure you don't. As far as the housing and oil crisis, I'm sure we could talk to some republican hedge fund, mortgage, and securities managers whose rabid desire for profits at the expense of all else contributed significantly to the problem. This country could get a lot farther, a lot faster, if we would stop shooting at each other over lies, inaccuracies, and misconceptions. We all live here, and therefore it is in everybody's best interest to put together a country we can all live in. Its not as if the Dems or Repubs will, one day, get up en masse and leave the country. We will be together for some time unless we all really screw it up and this country is too great to allow that to happen. And that bump in the road is actually the bumper of a big American truck telling you to move forward or get off the road.

Posted by: Tennessee Bill | August 10, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

re:mary ann callan post

Please don't be insulting to neanderthals like that, it is the fault of evolution that they had small brains and limited cognitive ability. The folks you refer to don't have even that evolutionary excuse.

Posted by: Tennessee Bill | August 10, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

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