Moving past Republican obstruction, President Barack Obama today appointed Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. According to White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer:
[Cordray] has one important job: look out for the best interest of American consumers. He’ll work on behalf of millions of families across the nation to ensure they’re not being taken advantage of by debt collectors and credit reporting agencies. As America’s consumer watchdog, Cordray will work to ensure that families and students don’t get saddled with sky-high interest rates by mortgage or payday lenders. Bottom line: he’ll strengthen oversight and accountability in order to protect millions of families across the nation. This is an important step to protect the American people.
Pfeiffer explained the process through which Obama appointed Cordray:
The Constitution gives the President the authority to make temporary recess appointments to fill vacant positions when the Senate is in recess, a power all recent Presidents have exercised. The Senate has effectively been in recess for weeks, and is expected to remain in recess for weeks. In an overt attempt to prevent the President from exercising his authority during this period, Republican Senators insisted on using a gimmick called ‘pro forma’ sessions, which are sessions during which no Senate business is conducted and instead one or two Senators simply gavel in and out of session in a matter of seconds. But gimmicks do not override the President’s constitutional authority to make appointments to keep the government running. Legal experts agree. In fact, the lawyers who advised President Bush on recess appointments wrote that the Senate cannot use sham ‘pro forma’ sessions to prevent the President from exercising a constitutional power.
Click here to read Pfeiffer’s full explanation of Cordray’s appointment.