In a resounding act of defiance against Republicans, President Barack Obama on Wednesday invoked his executive privilege during the U.S. Senate recess and named former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The new federal consumer watchdog agency was created under the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and began operation last July to oversee payday lenders and mortgage companies, among other entities. “For almost half a year, Republicans in the Senate have blocked Richard’s confirmation,” said Obama, speaking to supporters in Ohio Wednesday. Adding that “Richard is the right person for the job,” Obama also claimed, “The only reason Republicans in the Senate have blocked Richard is because they don’t agree with the law that set up a consumer watchdog in the first place. They want to weaken the law.” Democrats such as Senator Barbara Boxer and California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris have publically rallied around Obama. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), in a statement, said Obama “has arrogantly circumvented the American people.” Obama’s recess appointment of Cordray would last until the end of 2013, unless his nomination is confirmed by the Senate for the full five-year term, or when someone else is confirmed and permanently installed to the position.
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David Lazarus, business columnists, the Los Angeles Times
Mark Calabria, director, financial regulation studies Cato Institute