Although President Obama has made fewer recess appointments than any president in the last 40 years, the GOP pretended to be outraged by the President’s appointment of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The President said he was fed up with the GOP stalling his nominee to lead a new consumer protection agency in order to prevent protections being enforced.
“I refuse to take `no’ for an answer,” the president said. Obama announced the move with Cordray by his side before a cheering crowd in Ohio, a politically vital state where Cordray once was attorney general.
“Today I am appointing Richard as consumer watchdog,” the president addressed the crowd. “That means he is going to be in charge of one thing: looking out for the best interests of American consumers. His job is to protect families like yours from the abuses of the financial industry. His job is to make sure you have all the information you need. Right away, he’ll make sure that millions of Americans are treated fairly by mortgage brokers, payday lenders and debt collectors.”
Obama mentioned why he was making the appointment now even though Cordray was nominated last summer. He cited Senate Republican opposition who refused to give Cordray an up-or-down vote, despite the fact he has the support of the Senate majority.
“The only reason why Republicans have blocked Richard in the Senate.” said Obama, “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. They want to water it down. By the way, a lot of folks in the financial industry have poured millions of dollars to try to water it down. That makes no sense.”
He added: “We shouldn’t be weakening oversight, we shouldn’t be weakening accountability. We should be strengthening it, especially when it comes to looking out for families like yours.”
With a director in place, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be able to start overseeing the mortgage companies, payday lenders, debt collectors and other financial companies often blamed for practices that helped tank the economy.
The president announced three other appointments to the Labor Relations Board – another government agency that the GOP opposes.
Until now, President Obama has made only 28 recess appointments. Bush made more than 170 during his presidency. Bill Clinton made almost 140.