Breaking: National Journal reports Obama to use recess appointment for Cordray

posted at 10:36 am on January 4, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Exactly one week ago, I warned that Barack Obama would not feel himself constrained from making recess appointments by the pro forma sessions in the Senate, especially on Richard Cordray.  National Journal reports that Obama will announce a recess appointment for Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — and escalate the division between the Senate and the White House, and Democrats and Republicans:

President Obama will announce today that he will appoint Richard Cordray as head of the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during the Senate’s recess, the White House said.

The appointment comes to the dismay of Senate Republicans, who blocked Cordray’s nomination in order to weaken the bureau. …

Obama is scheduled to make his first public appearance of 2012 on Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. in the suburbs of Cleveland — Cordray’s home state.

Of all the controversial appointments that the Senate GOP has managed to bottle up, this one had the weakest argument.  The objections of Republicans to Cordray rested mainly on the CFPB itself, not Cordray.  They had already forced Obama to withdraw his first nominee, Elizabeth Warren, who proved inartful at Congressional relations anyway.  The CFPB itself was a battle Republicans lost over a year ago.  Congress passed it into law, and Obama should be able to get a nominee to run it confirmed.  Republicans can win the next election and make the changes they wish in the next session, but it’s unreasonable to simply block the agency from operating with its chosen leadership.

Don’t be surprised if Obama turns to the NLRB next.  The board can’t operate without a quorum, which it now lacks, and the GOP won’t budge after the activism of the NLRB under the influence of his previous recess appointment, Craig Becker.   Cordray won’t cost him much political damage, but Obama will come under fire regardless of which way he goes on this.  Business leaders will erupt in outrage if he forces more activists onto the NLRB, and unions will be just as outraged if he doesn’t.  Obama needs the former for funding and the latter for organization in the coming election, but setting this precedent will make it almost impossible for Obama to resist more recess appointments.

Update: As an aside, the timing on this is rather interesting, too.  Maybe Obama hoped to get this under the radar with all of the attention on Iowa the morning after the caucuses — or maybe steal some of the thunder from the Republicans.  Either works.

However, the lasting impact of this recess appointment will be (a) Republicans blocking even more Obama appointments, and (b) a Republican President ignoring a Democratic block on appointments regardless of the time that the Senate has been out of the chamber.  Expect the GOP to press a charge of Obama as an imperial President in the fall, too.

Update II: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) released a statement saying he is “outraged” by the recess appointment of Cordray:

“This is a very grave decision by this heavy-handed, autocratic White House.  Circumventing the Senate and tossing out decades of precedent to appoint an unaccountable czar to appease its liberal base is beneath the Office of the President.  The legislative branch exists as a check and a balance on the Executive.  By opening this door, the White House is saying it can appoint any person at any time to any position it chooses without the advice and consent of the Senate.  This is not how our Republic was designed to function. The American people deserve to be treated with more respect than this White House is affording them with this blatant power grab.  Senators of both parties should be deeply troubled the President’s actions today – actions which will come back to haunt them. ”

Other than making statements, there is little anyone can do to stop Obama from making these appointments, as I wrote last week.  The only action that can be taken is to make sure that Obama pays a political price for them.


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I really think we might be reaching a point of critical mass here, where the Legislature cannot check the Executive anymore, because of the sheer volume of work required to do it.

The Executive is too big. The Legislature doesn’t grow as the “government expands.”

Axe on January 4, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Mimzey on January 4, 2012 at 2:39 PM

LOL!
Don’t you know, I’m all for blacks having their own markets?

Badger40 on January 4, 2012 at 5:41 PM

Please don’t let the fact that gwb made nearly 200 recess appointments interfere with your ill-informed, yet highly entertaining, discussion.

benny shakar on January 4, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Please don’t let the fact that gwb made nearly 200 recess appointments interfere with your ill-informed, yet highly entertaining, discussion.
benny shakar on January 4, 2012 at 5:45 PM

No room for facts here. This is Hot Air.

Constantine on January 4, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Wow, I misread that opening sentence of Ed’s. Has this ever been done before. I know there have been recess appointments but has it been done during a pro forma session?

Cindy Munford on January 4, 2012 at 1:27 PM

FDR did it sometimes over a 2 day weekend. Course he broke the Constitution several times only got stopped when he tried to pack the Supreme Court with more Judges.

Steveangell on January 4, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Please don’t let the fact that gwb made nearly 200 recess appointments interfere with your ill-informed, yet highly entertaining, discussion.

benny shakar on January 4, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Not one when Congress was in session. Not one when Hypocrite Reid did these exactly the same sessions to not allow recess appointments.

Reid also did the Nuclear Option and changed the rules to stop a Filibuster.

Seems the Democrats could care less about the constraints of the Constitution. Or Common Law as in this case.

Steveangell on January 4, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Please don’t let the fact that gwb made nearly 200 recess appointments interfere with your ill-informed, yet highly entertaining, discussion.

benny shakar on January 4, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Please don’t let the fact that gwb made nearly 200 recess appointments interfere with your ill-informed, yet highly entertaining, discussion.

benny shakar on January 4, 2012 at 5:45 PM

No room for facts here. This is Hot Air.

Constantine on January 4, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Troll Tag Team! Just like the good old days of Bleeds Blue, GrowFins, getalife, etc.

Lying with your “facts” will only be believed by your Fellow Democrats.

Over an 8 year period, Bush in fact made 171 Recess Appointments; 40% of those were for part time positions only.

On the other hand, Democrat President Bill Clinton made 139 Recess Appointments; 30% were part time.

By the end only of his second year in Office, your Dear Leader had already made 28 Recess Appointments. 100% of them full-time, unlike Bush. That puts him on a pace, if he is re-elected, to make as many as Clinton.

Source: US Congressional Research Service.

http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?pid=%270DP%2BP\W%3B%20P%20%20%0A

F- to you both, as usual.

Del Dolemonte on January 4, 2012 at 6:12 PM

BTW, Democrat President John F. Kennedy (who the Democrats would have already kicked out of the Party were he alive now) actually made a Recess Appointment-to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Del Dolemonte on January 4, 2012 at 6:14 PM

In 2010, O’bama’s Deputy Solicitor General perjured himself before the highest Court in the land:

In 2010, Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal explained to the Supreme Court the Obama administration’s view that recess appointments are only permissible when Congress is in recess for more than three days. Here’s the exchange with Chief Justice John Roberts:

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: And the recess appointment power doesn’t work why?

MR. KATYAL: The — the recess appointment power can work in — in a recess. I think our office has opined the recess has to be longer than 3 days. And — and so, it is potentially available to avert the future crisis that — that could — that could take place with respect to the board. If there are no other questions –

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Thank you, counsel.

Del Dolemonte on January 4, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Think Ford Motor Credit and any care dealers that offer financing. Ford Motor Credit was denied bank status by the Feds even though GMAC was given bank status at the same time. GMAC is now Ally. This all occurred around the time of the government take-over of GM and Chrysler. I can’t recall what happened with Chrysler’s financing arm, or if they used GMAC, too.

totherightofthem on January 4, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Chrysler Financial was bought by TD Bank earlier last year, so is regulated under the banking laws. I believe Ford and Toyota both have nonbank finance companies.

rockmom on January 4, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Please don’t let the fact that gwb made nearly 200 recess appointments interfere with your ill-informed, yet highly entertaining, discussion.

benny shakar

Here’s a fact for you….congress isn’t in recess, making your point…..stupid. But you’re a lib, so that’s to be expected.

xblade on January 4, 2012 at 10:23 PM

TEOTWAKI

Decoski on January 5, 2012 at 3:55 AM

I’ll be the first to say it on this thread: IMPEACH NOW!

annoyinglittletwerp on January 4, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Agreed. This demagogue needs to be removed from office ASAP.

zoyclem on January 5, 2012 at 7:26 AM

xblade on January 4, 2012 at 10:23 PM

They won’t address that point. They are pretending that it doesn’t exist. That way they can pretend to legitimately say, “Bush did it too!”.

NotCoach on January 5, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Not only should the Republicans refuse to allow any more confirmations they should also do everything possible to stop any more Senate recesses before the November election. And stop agreeing to unanimous consent on every issue. At least one Republican should object to unanimous consent on every motion by the Senate. Slow the Senate down to a crawl. That would result in less damage to our country. And Obummer is going to run against Republicans in Congress anyway no matter how much work they allow the Senate to get done.

sherrimae on January 7, 2012 at 1:54 AM

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