Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Obama Does Recess

The American people deserve to have qualified public servants fighting for them every day - whether it is to enforce new consumer protections or uphold the rights of working Americans.  We can’t wait to act to strengthen the economy and restore security for our middle class and those trying to get in it, and that’s why I am proud to appoint these fine individuals to get to work for the American people.  -- President Barack Obama

Well, this little blog here has argued often that pushing first for Elizabeth Warren and then for Richard Cordray, to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was a fight very well worth having.  (See, e.g., Party of Nullification; Cordray, It's Not You It's Them; Washington Microcosm.)

This morning I posted a piece by Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress which explained the justification for making a recess appointment in the wake of Republican intransigence.  And as Adam Serwer noted, "few presidents have seen their appointments subject to as much obstruction as Obama, and few have been so timid about taking advantage of recess appointments.

Timid until now.  Obama used a recess appointment today to appoint Cordray as director of the CFPB.  And that's not all.  The President will be announcing three recess appointments (Department of Labor Attorney Sharon Block, labor lawyer Richard Griffin, and NLRB counsel Terence Flynn) to the National Labor Relations Board which as Dave Johnson recently wrote, the Republicans have effectively shut down.

Travis Waldron at ThinkProgress explains:  
Like the CFPB, Republicans have spent the past year blocking nominations to the NLRB in an effort to keep the agency from functioning. Those efforts would have paid off soon, since after Craig Becker’s term on the board expired this week, the NLRB would have been reduced to two members, which is the number it had for more than two years from 2008 to 2010. This effectively shuts down the board, since the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that two members does not constitute a legal quorum, and thus, a two-member board can’t make binding rulings.
As Laura Clawson says at Daily Kos, "This is huge."
Without these appointments, the NLRB would have been down to two members; it cannot make decisions without a three-member quorum. Republicans were determined to block Obama's NLRB nominations to shut down the board and prevent it from being able to pass rules like its recent moves streamlining union elections and requiring employers to put up posters informing workers of their existing legal rights.
Obama's decision to recess appoint both these NLRB members and Cordray to the CFPB doesn't just put qualified people into the government—it enables the government agencies themselves to function. That functioning, not the specific individuals, was what Republicans hoped to obstruct. It goes without saying that the GOP will be outraged all over again, despite the fact that the last three Republican presidents all made recess appointments to the NLRB. Kudos to Obama for braving the outrage and doing what needs to be done to keep government working.
Now that the President has finally done the right thing we need to show him our support and encouragement.  Click here to send an email courtesy of Daily Kos to President Obama to thank him for taking these important steps to protect workers and consumers.  Here's another one from Campaign for America's Future.


lonbud said...

Barry seems like he might be warming up to the task. Perhaps he's beginning to realize there is really no credible opposition to his right.

Wouldn't that be funny, if he could fake left--go right, and still score?

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