Following months of obstruction by the Republicans in congress, President Obama announced the recess appointment of Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today.
Today the President will appoint Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He has one important job: look out for the best interest of American consumers. He’ll work on behalf of millions of families across the nation to ensure they’re not being taken advantage of by debt collectors and credit reporting agencies. As America’s consumer watchdog, Cordray will work to ensure that families and students don’t get saddled with sky-high interest rates by mortgage or payday lenders. Bottom line: he’ll strengthen oversight and accountability in order to protect millions of families across the nation. This is an important step to protect the American people.
The President nominated Mr. Cordray last summer. Unfortunately, Republicans in the Senate blocked his confirmation. They refused to let the Senate go forward with an up or down vote. It’s not because Republicans think Cordray isn’t qualified for the job, they simply believe that the American public doesn’t need a watchdog at all. Well, we disagree.
As Dan Pfeiffer recognizes, Richard Cordray has wide, bipartisan approval from numerous state attorneys general, many of whom are Republicans. However the Republican leadership in congress chose to block his nomination just as they did Elizabeth Warren's nomination.
Their objection to confirming a head for the consumer protection bureau has nothing to do with the nominee and everything to do with the bureau itself. The Republicans were not willing to confirm anyone for the position unless the agency, which was created under the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, was first rendered toothless and ineffectual.
Ironically, they might have received more of what they wanted if they had agreed to negotiate rather than stick their fingers in their ears and sing "na-na-na I can't hear you."
Meanwhile, President Obama also made three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which have also been held hostage by the Republicans in congress.
The administration just announced that Obama will appoint Sharon Block, Terence Flynn, and Richard Grifin to the NLRB, preventing it from being crippled indefinitely thanks to Senate Republican intransigence.
One of the board’s members — Craig Becker — had to step aside this week after his recess appointment expired. That left the NLRB with only two sitting members — not enough, according to the Supreme Court, to constitute the quorum the board requires to function.
Terence Flynn is a Republican. Richard Grifin and Sharon Block are both pro-union Democrats.
It seems clear the administration intends to play hardball over the next 9 months while the Republicans flay each other, and now that Mitt Romney has been exposed as vulnerable within his own party, where's no better time than now to hit the inevitable nominee just as his primary opponents do the same. David Axelrod would apparently agree.