Obama To Recess-Appoint Cordray To Head CFPB – UPDATED

Apparently even our confrontation-avoiding president has his limits, and he reached one regarding the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Republicans in the Senate, where “three-fifths” is the new “one-half-plus-one,” stated nonnegotiably that they would not approve anyone to head this agency until its primary goals were modified to the point of effective evisceration. Their reward is beginning to become clear: first, Elizabeth Warren gave up on the post and is running very credibly for Senate. Next, Obama is set to recess-appoint Richard Cordray, an experienced former state AG with a history of consumer advocacy in lawsuits, who worked with Warren in crafting the CFPB, to head the agency. Cordray has the all-too-much-coveted bipartisan support, including a majority in the Senate. But see the rule stated above regarding majorities in the Senate.

One would think Republicans would get the idea that arbitrarily thwarting Obama even when he agrees with them… which is a lot more often than I agree with them… leads to unpleasant consequences. Then again, Republicans, whether from insanity or simple stupidity, frequently seem to go against their self-interest. Wouldn’t it be great to have a sensible opposition party? It’s not gonna happen with today’s GOPers; they come with built-in psychological problems.

Sources: Cleveland Plain Dealer and Washington Post.

A recess appointment is explicitly authorized in the Constitution, and runs through the next session of the Senate. If the Senate approves the appointee, s/he stays in office. A lot depends on whether Senate Republicans think they can get any more political mileage out of this nomination by blocking it. The polls I’ve seen mentioned (I usually don’t read the details of polls) indicate the public’s growing frustration with Republican obstructionism, but I’ve learned never to predict what Republicans will do.

UPDATE: Obama pushes forward with his recess appointments by naming three members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB has existed since 1934 as an agency charged with the duty of addressing “unfair labor practices,” employer interference with union elections, etc. Its recent history is checkered, largely (IMHO) because of increasing dominance of the federal courts system by Republican appointees. The business community seems to have hated the NLRB since its inception; Obama is using recess appointments to put it back in operation after conflicts and court decisions during the Bush administration left it with only two members and hence not allowed by the courts to function. If nothing else, this will give Obama an opportunity to demonstrate his bona fides in support of organized labor. It’s not an all-out pro-labor campaign, but it’s a start.

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Comments

  • jams o donnell (Shaun Downey)  On Wednesday January 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Just as well his name i Cordray and not Corday!

    • Steve  On Wednesday January 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      Shaun, are you referring to the assassin of Jean-Paul Marat? When I was at Rice U., the Rice Players, always a rowdy bunch, produced that play. As for everyone, I presume, the scene I remember best is the copulation round. Dirty minds don’t get any cleaner with age…

  • Madeleine Begun Kane  On Friday January 6, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Finally Obama shows a slight hint of having a pair. 🙂

    Thanks for the limerick you posted on my blog Thursday. I enjoyed it!

    • Steve  On Friday January 6, 2012 at 9:50 am

      You’re welcome, Mad! As for Obama’s pair, I’ll believe ’em if I still see ’em after elections.

  • jams o donnell (Shaun Downey)  On Friday January 6, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Seriously I hope Cordray will be able to make a difference

    • Steve  On Friday January 6, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Shaun, it will be a tough row to hoe. As I read Schlesinger’s book about the 1930s and the New Deal, I am coming to realize that the most powerful businesses… banks and securities trading firms among them… have always had the influence to assure that all the laws favor them, not their customers. Does Richard Cordray have anything to work with in his quest for fairness? Damned little, as far as I can tell.

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