By the Full Metal Patriot
“Where Congress is not wiling to act, we’re going to go ahead and do it ourselves.”
In a subsequent interview with 60 Minutes, he repeated his intention to
“What I’m not gonna do is wait for Congress. So wherever we have an opportunity and I have the executive authority to go ahead and get some things done, we’re just gonna go ahead and do ‘em.”
This week, he made good on those threats.
President Obama has decided to break 20 years of legal precedent so that he could use his recess-appointment power to appoint Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He did this despite the fact that Congress is not actually in recess.
President Obama argued this afternoon it is his obligation to bypass Congress and make a recess appointment of Richard Cordray as his consumer watchdog. [emphasis added]
In a speech in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Obama made it official that he would install the former Ohio general as the head of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau through recess appointment and hammered Republicans for blocking Cordray's appointment.
The president tapped Cordray last summer to head the agency, but Senate Republicans have used the filibuster to block an up-or-down vote on his nomination. GOP lawmakers have argued that the bureau should be accountable to Congress.
"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," Obama said "I have an obligation to act on behalf of the American people."
…Republicans note that the U.S. Constitution stipulates that the House and Senate cannot adjourn for longer than three days without the consent of the other body – agreed to by a concurrent adjournment resolution. Neither chamber has passed an adjournment resolution, and instead both have been holding pro-forma sessions every three days.
Obama cites Republican opposition to Cordray's appointment as justification for his abuse of power, but he conveniently leaves out the fact that despite holding a majority in the Senate, Democrats couldn’t muster the 60 votes needed to move ahead on the nomination:
Few question former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray's credentials for the job. But nearly all of the Senate's 47 Republicans are expected to vote against him Thursday, maintaining a GOP filibuster that requires 60 votes to break.
"This is not about the nominee, who appears to be a decent person and may very well be qualified," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. "It's about a process that is running out of control."
The agency, which officially opened in July, is designed to protect consumers taking out loans, using credit cards and making other financial transactions.
Republicans say it was constructed with far too much power and far too little accountability, and 45 of the Senate Republicans have signed a letter to Obama saying they would vote against any nominee to head the agency unless changes are made in its structure.
They want the director replaced by a bipartisan board and Congress to have control over its purse strings rather than the Federal Reserve. They also want to make it easier for other financial regulatory offices to overrule bureau decisions.
Now that he has been unable to create another unaccountable bureaucracy loaded with political appointees, Obama is choosing to behave like a dictator and circumvent the Constitutional checks and balances upon which our government is established. Regarding the power of the President, Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution states:
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
“break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.” He’s clearly forgetting his actual Presidential obligation, as expressed in his oath of office: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Funny, it doesn't say anything there about a President's “obligation” to circumvent the Constitution whenever he thinks it's really, really important. Or whenever there are political points to be scored in advance of a reelection campaign.
Now we see what Valerie Jarrett (co-chair of Obama's transition team) meant when she said he would be “ready to rule” on day one of his administration.
Cross-posted at Full Metal Patriot