The White House goes on offense — the recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has the righties shrieking about unprecedented usurpation of presidential authority. If you have a dim memory of Junior Bush making recess appointments — yes, he made 171, according to Wikipedia. And presidents have been making recess appointments since there have been, well, presidents.
The catch is that this Congress — or the Republicans in Congress, anyway — attempted to block recess appointments by refusing to recess. That is, they’ve used “pro forma” sessions to keep Congress officially in session despite the fact that nearly all of the senators and representatives actually had gone home.
This move by congressional Republicans is, in fact, a radical usurpation of power, as Ezra Klein explains. Specifically, Congress is attempting to “nullify” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as well as the National Labor Relations Board by blocking the appointments of personnel critical for those agencies to function. Without the appointments, no CFPB and no NLRB. Republicans don’t have the votes to actually dismantle those bureaus, so instead they are attempting to cancel them through other maneuvers.
So it’s actually congressional Republicans who are trampling all over constitutional separation of powers and overreaching their legal authority. But since the victim complexes of wingnuts know no bounds, in their tiny little minds it is the president who is overreaching and trampling on their gawd-given write to use the constitution as toilet paper.
Even better, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is threatening to sue to keep the nullification scheme going. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a tool of big corporations dedicated to turning the U.S. into a cheap source of labor and resources.
But the bottom line here is that Republicans are actually doing is blocking financial regulatory reform, which the public appears to want. So they can shriek about how awful it all is until they turn purple; politically, this is a fight they will lose. Even Sen. Scott Brown, fighting a challenge from Elizabeth Warren, who created the CFPB, is telling his fellow Senate Republicans to back down.
Also too, Greg Sargent:
Today Romney denounced the Cordray appointment as â€œChicago style politics at its worst.â€ The Obama campaign responds:
â€œMitt Romney today stood with predatory lenders and Republicans in Congress over the middle class. He doubled down on his promise to eliminate the Wall Street watchdog and allow Wall Street to write its own rules again, leaving consumers vulnerable to hidden fees, financial traps and excessive risk taking that will hit their pocketbooks. Governor Romney has made clear he has not learned the lessons of the economic crisis, instead, heâ€™s giving the most irresponsible financial actors a bright green light to pursue profit at any cost to communities across America.â€
Republicans rejected his first choice to run the agency, Elizabeth Warren. Obama then proffered Cordray, who has enjoyed bipartisan support. But Republicans simply turned around and said they like Cordray but planned to hold him hostage anyway.
By early autumn, it had dawned on Obama and his advisers that their deep enmeshment with a dysfunctional drama on Capitol Hill merely made them look ineffectual. So, recognizing that Congress is simply treating every negotiation as a zero-sum contest undertaken with the goal of defeating him, Obama has abandoned any hope of negotiation or legislative progress.
Instead he is dramatizing his opposition to Congress, making it clear that Republicans are standing in the way of his economic program. Part of the agenda entails talking up bills he knows Congress wonâ€™t pass, like new infrastructure spending.
They should have realized that
snakes Republicans don’t bargain in good faith any more a whole lot sooner. Like, sometime during the spring of 2009, if not sooner. But this is another indication why progressives who oppose Obama’s re-election are idiots.