The Senate had, in fact, been in pro forma session when Obama issued his fiat that the body was in recess.
We then went into recess, with the Republicans still having a hold on this bill.
And, while we're at it, the mess of recess appointments is a significant impetus for substantial filibuster reform.
1530s, "act of receding," from Latin recessus "a going back, retreat," from recessum, past participle of recedere "to recede" (see recede). Meaning "hidden or remote part" first recorded 1610s; that of "period of stopping from usual work" is from 1620s, probably from parliamentary notion of "recessing" into private chambers.
1809, from recess (n.). Related: Recessed; recessing.
recess re·cess (rē'sěs', rĭ-sěs')
A small hollow or an indented area.