Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reason #103: Recess Appointments

Though the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was formed almost eighteen months ago by the passage of Dodd-Frank, and has technically been in operation for almost six months, congressional Republicans have filibustered any attempt to put someone in charge of the thing; making the entire bureau about as effective as a fancy sign hanging on the door to the janitor's closet.

Elizabeth Warren, my future wife and the person largely responsible for the creation of the CFPB in the first place, was the first director-in-waiting, until last summer when she gave up on the "in waiting" part and decided to run for Senate in Massachussetts instead. She was "succeeded" in her "position" by a guy named Richard Cordray, whom I'd never heard of before, but hey, whatever.

After being blocked just as ferociously since July, he finally became the sitting CFPB director today via a presidential recess appointment, which admittedly makes Obama look like kind of a dick--John Boehner called it "an extraordinary and entirely unprecedented power grab by President Obama that defies centuries of practice", apparently forgetting that Bush had made 61 recess appointments to Obama's 28 by this point in his presidency, and ultimately made 171 during his eight years in office.

Actually, that it's kind of a dick move (even the above NYT article says it was "intended to kick dirt in the face of Republicans") is why I like it. This new, boisterous Obama might just be a campaign tactic designed to highlight congressional contentiousness, but I wouldn't be surprised if he'd finally, legitimately given up on compromising with these people. And with some people predicting that the GOP will take the Senate next year, that could make his second term (which I'm basically considering a foregone conclusion at this point) very interesting.

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