Obama sidesteps Senate and appoints new consumer agency chief
January 4th, 2012
03:13 PM ET

Obama sidesteps Senate and appoints new consumer agency chief

Shaker Heights, Ohio (CNN) - Positioning himself as the defender of the middle class and a protector of American consumers, President Obama raised the ire of Republicans Wednesday announcing his appointment of a new consumer protection bureau chief without waiting for Senate approval.

"Now is not the time to play politics while people’s livelihoods are at stake," President Obama proclaimed at a campaign style rally in the pivotal swing state of Ohio.

The president was joined on stage by former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, Obama’s nominee to head up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In a parliamentary maneuver which side stepped Senate approval, Mr. Obama made a recess appointment of Cordray to the position.

"I'm gonna look for every opportunity to bridge the partisan divide and get things done," the president told a capacity crowd of some 1400 people in the suburban Cleveland Shaker Heights High School gymnasium.

But he made no apology the action. It’s the latest move in the administration-led campaign called "We Can't Wait" which has moved initiatives forward using executive action and side-stepping what the White House has characterized as an obstructionist Congress.

"But when Congress refuses to act and as a result hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them," the president told the supportive crowd. "[N]ot when so much is at stake. Not at this make-or-break moment for the middle class Americans we're not gonna let that happen,"

Republican anger was swift. Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus, in a statement, called the recess appointment "an assault on the U.S. Constitution and an unprecedented abuse of executive power."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the White House was in "uncertain legal territory."

A statement from House Speaker John Boehner said he expects "courts will find the appointment to be illegitimate."

In December, all but one Senate Republican voted against Cordray to head the consumer agency saying they did so not in opposition to Cordray but because they felt the agency itself needed changes.

soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. LJE

    CNN TV has announced or labeled that the recess appointment is "unprecedented". Really? That would explain why Geo. Washington, Dwight Eisnenhower, Bush 1, Bush 2, Clinton, and a host of others did this–they were all "unprecedented", too? Article 2, Section 2 US Constitution.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • zippy5

      I agree. If I'm not mistaken, Bush 2 made 61 recess appointments.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
      • Richard Sloan

        I believe Bush 43 made 171 recess appointments. . . and I don't recall any Republicans complaining about them.

        January 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
      • steveo


        You're right! The GOP didn't complain when Bush made his recess appointments but the DEMS sure did!

        January 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • 1FreeWorld

        Bush had a big debt. We heard it every day from the DemocRATS.

        Now that Obumber has a BiGGGGGGGGGGGGG Debt,
        where are the DemocRATS??????


        DemocRATS must really like BiGGGGGGGGGGGGG Debt now!

        Go figure!

        (Wink to all the RATS)

        Can anybody here tell us the difference in a PERCENTILE-basis that
        SPENT and
        AGREED to

        as opposed to
        SPENT and
        AGREED to?


        Yo, Yo, Yo,
        George SOros has BRAIN-WASHED
        ALL of the RATS?

        January 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
      • 1FreeWorld

        I Believe that Martin Luther King would appreciate the following:

        Happy MLK Day to all of US!


        Alveda King, MLK's Daughter,
        is in this Movie

        If you are a Racist,,, do not go here!

        If you are Brain-Washed,,, do not go here!

        If you have a leaning towards Socialism,,,

        January 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • DamonK

      Goes to show you how much you pay attention to history or read. Bush did it while Congress was actually in RECESS. BO just did it while the Senate is still having pro forma meetings. When the Senate started doing this in 2007, Bush respected it and didn't make any appointments during the sessions.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
      • KatR

        Pro forma is a word not found in our Constitution. Sen. Reid created such sessions under Bush 2 to check the power of the executive branch that was making far too many recess appointments. Currently, it is a dysfunctional Congress that is blocking the Constitutional power of the President to "faithfully execute the laws of the land". As such, by making this recess appointment, Obama is checking the power of Congress.

        January 5, 2012 at 5:52 am |
      • biggal195

        @DamonK: Last I heard, the Constitution did not mention "Pro forma" sessions. Look it up and let me know if I'm mistaken.

        January 5, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  2. Steve Snow

    Am I the only person that dislikes recess appointment? I thought we had three branches of government for a reason. Where are the checks and balances? We are in the shape we are in because no one follows the rules.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • 1FreeWorld


      Federalism is coming back!

      No more Central Government governing ALL,

      Everybody and Every Town and State is Different!

      Don't Drive in Maryland with a Cell Phone!
      The RATS
      and it will come out of your wallet!

      To all the Out laws in Maryland
      Move out of Maryland to a State that allows you to use your Cell Phone

      January 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  3. Peter

    Nice! Great move, Obama. Give us more like that!

    January 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  4. Drew W.

    The POTUS has some serious stones to engage in another legal battle during an election year. The legal precedent and Justice Dept memos are not in his favor since the Senate has been meeting every three days since they "recessed". Much of America is not aware that Senate is not in recess officially because the vote to officially do so was voted down. Additionally there is previous Fed court rulings that found 3 days without session cannot be considered a recess of a house in congress.

    I not only think that Obama loses this battle but also the war. I pray that the pied piper effect wears off of the independent voters and they see what a mockery that this hypocritical POTUS has made of the office he holds. He called Bush unpatriotic for what Bush spent in 8 years, but then spent that much in less than 4 years. He is arrogant in front of our debtors and allies and weak in front of the countries that should fear our might. I hope that last night in Iowa we began the path to end this nightmare and place a fitting individual in the office as President.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  5. joep199

    It's about time!

    January 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • takie

      You are correct. It is about time for Obummer to go. We don't need a monarch. We need a real President.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
      • Trace

        takie = tacky....you are one intellectually vacant fake news follower- Aren't Ya? The Consumer Protection Bureau was signed into law and passed with bipartisan votes. There are many GOP Senators that support Corday. The reason the GOP/Tea Potty baffoons do not want the qualified candidate seated, is because they "DO NOT WANT OBAMA and the American People to have a WIN". That's childish, foolish, illegal, immoral, stupid and ignorant of the fact that Obama's approval ratings, though modest in the high 40's, is a sight better than 11% popularity for the GOP/Tea knuckle draggers. Its only the biggest idiot that would say Obama is finished under these circumstances, or "The American People are speaking loud and clear, We Want the GOP and not Obama....wait, wait, I see a jerry sighting. here comes the self proclaimed pied piper of fools now – LOL....Standby and be amazed at the stupidity people

        January 5, 2012 at 1:56 am |
  6. Conc3rn3d

    Obama's "recess appointment" is unconstitutional. Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution states, "Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days."

    In other words, the President can only "recess appoint" when the Senate has adjourned for more than 3-days, and the Senate can't adjourn for more than 3-days without the consent of the House...and Boehner properly withheld that consent to prevent such an appointment.

    Thanks for playing. Please come again.

    January 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • seo

      So you are saying Bush violated the Constitution 171 times when he was president.

      January 4, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • 1FreeWorld

        I want to thank all of your Grand Daughters and Grand Sons for paying for the DemocRATS Bill.

        Most of the Grand Parents can't pay,,,,

        and Most of the Parents can't pay,,,,

        So,,, let us hope that the Grand Kids can pay!


        They can't find a job!

        Maybe we can attack Mexico and Canada and Pillage and Rape their Gold and Women!

        January 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
      • 1FreeWorld

        Well,, that is how Europe, the Middle East, and Asia did it over all their years!

        We want to be more like Europe and EurAsia, as Obumber is pushing, Right?

        Well let's attack our neighbors and take thier Riches!

        Oh Yeah,,,


        Taxed Enough Already!

        January 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • biggal195

      Last I heard, the Constitution did not mention "Pro forma" sessions. They are just silly, little "we shook on it" gentlemen's agreements. If they're not in the Constitution they won't hold up in a court challenge. Sorry, you can "play again."

      January 5, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  7. zippy5

    Score one for the middle class – and about time too, We've been screwed by unfair practices from unscrupulous mortgage brokers, credit agencies etc. for way too long. Bravo, Mr. President.

    January 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Conc3rn3d

      You cannot simply lay blame with the banks, mortgage brokers and credit agencies. After all, it was the borrowers that signed on the dotted line in order to receive the loans. There's more than one side to blame for the mess that was caused. But I guess personal responsibility has become conveniently omitted.

      And this isn't a "score one for the middle class." If anything this will erode the middle class as an even greater rate. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has the power to interfere with every consumer financial transaction in the economy. It is housed in the Federal Reserve and funded out of Fed operations, not congressional appropriations, avoiding effective congressional oversight. All power is vested in one individual with no board or commission. The original design of the CFPB was to include a five-member commission that was funded and overseen by Congress.

      So much for our system of checks and balances.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
      • joep199

        Thank god it's out of congressional control! Those idiots have done nothing but prove that they're a bunch of hypocritical windbags who are only out for one thing: to enrich themselves through "campaign contributions" and landing fat, no work, jobs as lobbyists when they leave office.

        January 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
      • Jason

        "...avoid effective congressional oversight." Show me where effective oversight exsists in this acrimonious bi-partisian congress?

        January 4, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
      • obas

        Bravo, spot on!

        January 4, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
      • jean2009

        Thanks Jason....and I wonder who Conc3m3d is paid to cheat?
        The president has the right to appoint. U.S. Constitution Article 2, Section 2, Clause 3.

        January 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • obas


      January 4, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  8. Joe

    All we need is more government workers on the payroll. I wonder if they will be a part of the public sector unions?

    January 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  9. Conc3rn3d

    In 2008 candidate Sen. Barack Obama famously said, "This is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he is going along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We are not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress."

    Is that not the definition of hypocracy? Or does is just make him a big fat liar? Both?

    January 4, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • 1FreeWorld


      in 2010, the man in the White House said,
      We took a Shellacking,,,

      In 2009, NJ Governor (Cristy), Virgina Governor (McDonnel), etc,
      Let us know that all those wanting a Shellacking in the next 4 or 5 years, was going to get it.

      In 2010, the Beat goes on,,,

      And now we have many DemocRATS jumping ship,,, in the House AND Senate,,,

      Good luck with quoting the guy in the White House!

      January 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
      • 1FreeWorld


        I thought you were quoting Obumer
        to make a point on why Obumer CAN STILL MOVE MOUNTAINS
        and QUELL THE SEAS,

        My Bad,,,

        State Senators, Assmbley Persons,
        and especially State Attorney Generals!

        God Bless America!

        January 4, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • 1FreeWorld


      I thought you were quoting Obumer
      to make a point on why Obumer CAN STILL MOVE MOUNTAINS
      and QUELL THE SEAS,
      and can GO OUTSIDE OF THE Law prescribed by the Republic...

      My Bad,,,

      VOTE FOR
      State Senators, Assmbley Persons,
      and especially State Attorney Generals
      that are for Life, Liberty, and Rights given to us from our Creator!!

      God Bless America!

      January 4, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  10. DamonK

    Funny how you support BO's RECESS appointments and say Bush did it. Fine, let's agree that BO did put Cordray before the Senate and they failed to give him an up or down vote. They at least owe him that. They didn't, he appointed (it's a recess appointment during a non-recess time, but let's not argue about that.)

    Let's talk about his 3 appointments to the NLRB. Those 3 have not been presented to the Senate for confirmation at any level. Hrm. Something fishy there.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  11. jean2009


    Barack Obama is among best presidents ever, George W. Bush not so much, say scholars in Sienna College Poll.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • cakes

      just exactly was has he been best at? Name something

      January 4, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
      • joep199

        Fixing the mess that GWB left behind.

        January 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
      • Steveo


        The Dems played a huge role in that mess to include Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac (Barney Frank and Chris Dodd). The Dems also voted to go to war! Both parties played a role! Clinton left a growing housing bubble that exploded during the Bush administration!

        January 4, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
      • jean2009

        No Steveo it was GLB that caused the mortgage mess. Gramm, Leach, Bliley Act all three Repugnants.

        January 5, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
      • steveo

        Jean2009 We talked about this before. Name the president who signed GLB into law! I'll do it for you...William Jefferson Clinton! a DEMOCRAT! GLB meant absolutely nothing until it was signed into law by...Clinton! So my post stand the Dems were just as culpable. To think otherwise is laughable!

        January 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • steveo

        In addition Jean2009, GLB was voted for by 38 Dems to include:

        Byrd (WV), Leahy (NH), Kennedy and Kerry (MA), Edwards (NC) Schummer and Moynihan (NY), Reid (NV), Levin (Ml), Mulkulski (Md), Landrieu (La), Durbin (Il), Dodd (Ct), Feinstein (Ca), Murray (Wa) AND BIden (De).

        So, As I stated, the Dems are JUST as culpable. The mortage mess is their fault as well! Just as the Dem who as President, signed the Act into law (Clinton). Too bad you have decided to give them a pass just because of the letter "D".

        January 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • 1FreeWorld


      Fast and Furious,

      That is how it will go down when the New Senate turns to the other side!

      I mean with Mr. Obama's Impeachment!

      Libs? Why vote this year?
      He will be having another ,,, what is that word I am looking for????

      Oh yes,,, SHELLACKING,,, that's the word!

      Just ask the Families of the American killed, and the Mexicans that have had their family members killed,
      with Holder's Fast and Furious SCAM!

      January 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  12. 1FreeWorld

    Fast and Furious,

    That is how it will go down when the New Senate turns to Constitutional Conservatives!

    I mean with Mr. Obama's Impeachment!

    Libs? Why vote this year?
    He will be having another ,,, what is that word I am looking for????

    Oh yes,,, SHELLACKING,,, that's the word!
    Just ask the Families of the American killed, and the Mexicans that have had their family members killed,
    with Holder's Fast and Furious SCAM!

    January 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  13. Gmason

    It is just disheartening to see the individuals on here who support this action. Just because it's "their guy" they think ignoring the Constitution and breaking the law is fine. So short sighted and idiotic. You people need to realize that the Constitution and the rule of law are what protects you and your freedom, anyone who tears that down, for any supposed "reason" whatsoever is damaging our country and our kids future.
    Learn our history, the Constitution, and the reasoning behind every article in it and you might just begin to understand how blessed we are and how easily all that blessedness can be taken away, willingly, by idiots like yourselves.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • jean2009

      U.S. Constitution Article 2, Section 2, Clause 3 sorry he has the right....and bless him for doing it.

      January 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • econ

      My sentiments exactly!

      January 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  14. econ

    Another waste of public funds under the guise of consumer protection. More importantly, another violation of constitutional proceedure. We are (supposed to be) a nation of laws, not a lawless, free-for-all, do what-I-please system, which is exactly what Obama has turned the presidency into. A president needs to work within the system AT ALL COSTS, not create his own system of governance because he couldn't get his way through legitimate channels. When will the democratic party realize that the best consumer protection is when free unfettered forces compete in the open market, with minimal governmental oversight and regulation to ensure public safety?

    January 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm |