Obama: right on recess consumer appt.: Cantwell

By:  Joel Connelly
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

President Obama was right to install Richard Cordray as head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after Republicans blocked Senate confirmation, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said Thursday.

“He is the ultimate watchdog when the existing watchdogs fail us,” Cantwell said in an interview.  “It is important for the U.S. economy to understand there is a policeman on the beat.”

Republicans have reacted with outrage to Obama’s recess appointment of Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, and the President’s filling of three vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board.

“President Obama arrogantly circumvented the American people with an unprecedented ‘recess’ appointment of more unelected, unaccountable, unconfirmed ‘Czars’,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell thundered in a fundraising letter.

The GOP’s outraged begs credulity.  President Bush used a recess appointment in 2005 to install controversial conservative diplomat-lawyer John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.  Democrats in the Senate had blocked Bolton’s confirmation.

Bolton is now a frequent pundit on the Fox News Channel — unofficial broadcast wing of the Republican Party — which has carried cries of outrage over Obama’s use of recess appointments.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created by Congress in 2010, is designed as a watchdog over trading of derivatives, hedge fund manipulations and other causes of the near-meltdown of the U.S. economy in 2008.

Senate Republicans have blocked Cordray’s confirmation, demanding a weakening of the watchdog agency.

They’ve blocked a lot of other appointments.  Nobel Prize-winning economist Peter Diamond could not win confirmation to the Federal Reserve Board.  Senior National Geographic Society official Terry Garcia was prevented from becoming deputy commerce secretary.

During 2007-08, a Democratic-run Senate confirmed 740 of 981 appointments by President Bush.  With Republicans frequently threatening filibusters, only 285 of 503 Obama appointments have gotten through the Senate in the last two years.

The Senate is “not doing much.,” Cantwell said, so the President is obligated to act.

“I think the administration needs to use every process available to enforce the law and give proper oversight to Wall Street,” she said.  “With Congress at a standstill, the executive branch is fulfilling its obligation and that is important.

“I think it is very important there is more oversight in Washington (D.C.) about the rules Wall Street must play by.”