The rumors started to fly yesterday, and today they were confirmed: President Obama is using executive recess appointment powers to appoint former Ohio Attorney General Rich Cordray to head the newly created Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. He’s expected to make the formal announcement this afternoon when he speaks at Shaker Heights High School.
Republicans had blocked his appointment in the Senate — not, they made clear, because they disliked Cordray or thought he was unqualified, but because they were disagreed with the bureau’s very creation during the last Congress and aimed to informally repeal the law by keeping it from taking effect. The early December vote was 53 in favor of confirming Cordray, 45 against. Thanks to the Senate’s odd procedural rules, the minority prevailed.
Undoubtedly, some were concerned that Cordray will be TOO effective is stopping some of the predatory practices of big financial institutions, given his track record in Ohio. While attorney general, he attracted national attention for suing companies for ripping off ohio citizens and winning hundred of millions of dollars in settlements for the state.
One of the first stepping up to congratulate Cordray was progressive heroine Elizabeth Warren, who set up the bureau and was Obama’s initial choice to head it. She’s now running for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts and she posted on her campaign website.
Thanks to President Obama's recess appointment, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gets its first director — and its full powers — with Richard Cordray. For months, determined as ever to protect Wall Street and the big banks instead of you, Republicans stymied the agency from doing its job by filibustering Cordray's nomination. But they cannot block this appointment.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House John Boehner (Oh-08) whined that something done repeatedly by Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr., Reagan etc etc, is “an unprecedented power grab.” — Anastasia Pantsios
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