published Sunday, January 8th, 2012

A boost for good governance

President Obama's recess appointments of a director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three members of the National Labor Relations Board has, predictably, left Republican obstructionists harping about his welcome decision, finally, to fill these slots. The president's action significantly advances the public interest in consumer protection and employees' increasingly threatened rights, however. If Republicans want to grouse about the method, voters should know they're being hypocrites: they have long used recess appointments when they controlled the White House to circumvent political stalemate.

In fact, Obama patiently waited for six months for Republicans to come to terms on these appointments. But all they've done is filibuster against a majority of the Senate to kill such appointments, while arguing for wholly unreasonable conditions to shackle these agencies.

The appointment of Richard Cordray, a respected former Ohio attorney general, as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finally gives the agency the teeth and jurisdiction to do what it was established to do under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. It's past time for that to happen.

Though enough Senate Republicans had finally agreed in 2010 to provide the margin to pass the reform law, they did so only on the devious condition that the CFPB could not exercise its full powers to protect consumers' interest in various financial products until a director was named. And then they stalled, and kept stalling, on appointment of a director in order to get Democrats to agree to weaken the laws for which the agency was created to oversee.

The legislation had let the agency assume authority for existing regulations for consumer products from banks and credit unions, but it was not legally authorized to establish new consumer protection regulations for a range of financial companies until a director was appointed. Republicans, predictably courting rich financial lobbyists, were simply willing to cripple the new agency and let banks, payday lenders, mortgage brokers, money transfer agencies, credit agencies, student loan issuers and other vendors of financial products continue to profit through deceptive lending practices and a lack of transparency.

Obama decision finally to appoint Mr. Cordray is encouraging. The new director noted in a blog post after his appointment that the bureau had not been able to develop new regulations for such products as credit cards and mortgages.

"Now, with a director, the CFPB can exercise its full authorities -- with respect to both banks and non-banks -- to help those markets operate fairly, transparently and competitively." That's a welcome change from the predatory practices that greatly harmed consumers in the run-up to financial crisis of 2008.

Obama's appointments of three well-regarded people to the five-member national labor board is equally heartening. Republicans had rejected previous candidates, and the board faced the threat of being left with just two members -- and without the power of a quorum to act on critical workplace issues.

Republicans' backlash was predictable, especially in an election year when they are determined to see as little helpful action as possible from the administration. But that's not a fair reason to cripple the ability of government to act responsibility.

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What a load!! Obama is a lawless clown and he loves appointees who disrespect the Constitution. Somebody make it stop! Obama can kiss my royal, Irish-American ass!

January 8, 2012 at 12:48 a.m.

It's a pity how antagonistic the government has become.

George Washington is probably grinding his teeth into Sawdust.

January 8, 2012 at 1:27 a.m.
nucanuck said...

CTU, Obama loves and forgives you despite your obvious shortcomings.

January 8, 2012 at 2:05 a.m.
01centare said...

CTU is confusing President Obama with G.W. Bush and the last administration. G.W. Bush alleged statement remember on the American Constitution, "Nothing but a dam/n piece of paper!"

G.W. Bush who actually sought to change the American Constitution. Got angry when others didn't go along, pouted, held his breath until he turned blue in the face. Threw yours and my toys down, breaking them beyond repair, and stomped back to his ranch in Crawford Texas.

January 8, 2012 at 9:13 a.m.
librul said...

Because the Rethuglican fascist country club crowd decided back in 2008 that they would not allow American government to function under Mr. Obama, he could make a recess appointment every day from now until next January and there would STILL be unfilled administrative positions - many of which have crippled functions of our governmnet that have negatively impacted our people on multiple levels. THAT is NOT good governance.

January 8, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.

Well, luckily he can make more than one a day. In fact, he can say he signed 10,000 in one fell swoop.

thank you Mr. Theodore Roosevelt for precedent.

January 8, 2012 at 12:46 p.m.

Obama is at times is a facist, a Marxist, a socialist or a dictator, and he has NOOOO respect for our Constitution or the citizens of this GREAT country. He may be parking his posterior in the oval office, but he's not my President. When he swore to uphold the Constitution, he lied!!

January 8, 2012 at 12:47 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Good Governance Editorial: "President Obama's recess appointments of a director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three members of the National Labor Relations Board has, predictably, left Republican obstructionists harping about his welcome decision."

It’s a relief to see someone in Washington takes their civic duties seriously. The punks in Congress have been undermining the health and safety of the general public for too long.

January 8, 2012 at 1:50 p.m.
conservative said...

The writer omits the FACT that Congress was NOT in recess! It is NOT a recess appointment if Congress was NOT in recess ! There is a reason for the term "recess appointment." It can apply when Congressn is in recess but Congress was NOT in recess! Obamination has contempt for the rule of law and our Constitution.

January 8, 2012 at 1:58 p.m.
librul said...

Ha! The repugnants would consider two of their number sitting in Starbucks sipping lattes as Congress being "in session." Idiots.

January 8, 2012 at 3 p.m.
kinch7 said...

How dare our president make appointments after months of inertia. It's his job to make sure our government does nothing, knows nothing, and if possible think nothing. The nerve! What we need in this country is for all congresses and presidents heretofor to run on a platform that pledges they will work earnestly to prevent the government from doing anything except pay salaries to the ones who best keep the goverment inert. I've seen biscuits soaking in gravy that set a better example for us all. Three cheers for inertia! No. Let's just do nothing and say we did.

January 8, 2012 at 7:18 p.m.

Less than 45 seconds? That's not being in session. That's criminal waste of resources to do nothing.

January 8, 2012 at 7:29 p.m.
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