As Congress enjoys their summer break, it looks like there will be no presidential recess appointment of the first head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. President Obama, bowing to Republican opposition, had already dismissed the idea of appointing the best and most logical choice, Elizabeth Warren, but has a new candidate in mind.
No way, say the Republicans. They are using the parliamentary procedure of “pro forma” sessions to prevent Congress from going into a formal recess, thereby preventing Obama from seating Richard Cordray, a close aide and ally of Warren while she was setting up the consumer agency.
This is not exclusively a Republican trick. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used pro forma sessions to block some of President Bush’s recess appointments in 2007. Blocking appointments is nothing new for senators of either party.
This time Republicans are going farther. Rather than opposing a particular nominee, they are blanketly opposing any of Obama’s nominees.
“This isn’t about any particular appointee — Ben Franklin could come back to life and they would oppose him,” said Joseph Engelhard, a consultant at a Washington research firm and a former GOP House aide. NY Times: Nominees at Standstill as G.O.P. Flexes Its Muscle
Here is the tally, from the Congressional Research Service of the number of recess appointments by our three most recent presidents:
President Clinton: 129
President Bush: 171
President Obama: 15
When it comes to obstructing the work of the government, Republicans have set a high standard.