published Friday, January 6th, 2012

President Obama flouts checks and balances in 'recess appointment'

President Barack Obama is engaged in an astonishing power grab. On Wednesday, he installed by "recess appointment" a person to head the extremely powerful new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- even though the Senate was not actually in recess.

Bloomberg News noted that the appointment "went beyond the power asserted by most previous administrations to install officials without Senate action."

Recess appointments let a president install -- temporarily -- people to certain positions without the normally required Senate confirmation. But Obama simply ignored the Senate, because Richard Cordray's nomination had previously gotten too few votes there to advance.

The bureau director will have nearly unchecked power to regulate a broad range of financial and consumer transactions. Congress will be essentially frozen out of any meaningful oversight.

No one individual is wise enough to wield the sort of power over the U.S. economy that the bureau's director will wield, and Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Chattanooga sharply criticized the president's decision to install Cordray.

"Instead of working in a productive way with Congress, the administration has chosen to undermine any attempt at bringing accountability and balance to the bureau," Corker, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in a news release. A "board-like structure and checks on rulemaking abilities" are needed to make sure the director "does not have unfettered power," he added.

Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Chattanooga was equally alarmed.

"President Obama has shown complete disregard for checks and balances found within the Constitution ...," he said. "I cannot express enough how vehemently opposed I am to his actions of bypassing Congress, and his actions to continue creating a more obtrusive federal government."

Obama has shown again why he should be replaced in November.

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The senate's last session was less than a minute in length. The nominee had more than enough votes to be confirmed in the Senate, but no such vote was held?


Why not hold a confirmation hearing? You skip over the details, by saying "not enough votes to advance" but you don't explain that the only issue was chicanery, not an actual issue with the nominee.

January 6, 2012 at 11:09 a.m.
Gloats said...

I'm glad to see Senate stalling tactics nipped in the bud. Changing the "politics as usual" inside the beltway gives me HOPE.

January 6, 2012 at 10:42 p.m.
eaglehim said...

"Chicanery" by a democrat controlled Senate? You people have lost your minds. The deadlock in the senate is the way it is supposed to work so that unqualified people do not get appointed. If the senate had any balls they would just cut off funding to that new department - make it impossible to operate.

January 6, 2012 at 11:54 p.m.

Except Richard Cordray is clearly qualified. Though the word is confirmed, not appointed.

Your problem is not with the apointee but with the department. Fortunately, for the rest of us, a majority of Senators do not agree.

It is still chicanery, and it is Republican driven, thanks to Senate procedures that let one person hold up all business.

January 7, 2012 at 9:26 a.m.
tnlib said...

Cordray is extremely qualified. The agency is sorely needed. Corker has shown again why he needs to be replaced ASAP.

January 7, 2012 at 9:53 a.m.
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