Richard Cordray’s confirmation hearing has been postponed until Sept. 6, and until then House Republicans plan to hold pro forma sessions to prevent President Obama from naming Cordray the CFPB director via a recess appointment.
Eight freshman Republicans have signed on to hold pro-forma sessions in the House every three days for the rest of the summer, which effectively blocks the Democrat-controlled Senate from adjourning, The Hill explains.
The members of Congress are: Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.), Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Rep. Allen West (R-Fla).
How can the House prevent the Senate from adjourning? The Citizen Vox blog explains that there is a rule in the Constitution that says, “Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.”
Unless the Senate adjourns, the President cannot make recess appointments – or so Republicans thought. There is another little-known constitutional rule that permits the President to adjourn both houses of Congress.
So far, Obama has made 21 of recess appointments, compared with President George W. Bush’s 171 recess appointments and President Bill Clinton’s 139.
Unless the Senate adjourns, the President cannot make recess appointments. So far, Obama has made 21 of them, compared with President George W. Bush’s 171 recess appointments and President Bill Clinton’s 139.
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs announced on Aug. 3 that the Aug. 4 nomination hearing would be rescheduled for Sept. 6.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member on the committee, has said that he doesn’t oppose Cordray personally, but will oppose anyone nominated for the post.
Shelby told ABC News that the Dodd-Frank law put “so much power, too much power, in one person” when establishing the CFPB. “This is about accountability, and what we’re asking for is … not to change the mission, but of governance. And the president can do this. If he doesn’t do it, I believe we’re not going to budge and we shouldn’t.”
Even without the Republicans’ vow to block his nomination, he lacks the real-world experience that would earn him approval, according to David Indiviglio of The Atlantic.
Following an overview of Cordray’s resume, he writes, “Even if he does understand consumer protection, his background is one-dimensional. Without a business background, he won’t be able to grasp all of the potentially negative, damaging effects a new rule could have on the financial industry and broader U.S. economy.”
Cordray is said to want the role of Ohio governor, with possibly even higher aspirations. “He never saw a camera he didn’t like,” according to a speaker on an American Banker CFPB webinar.
He is well acquainted with opposition, having lost as many political races as he has won in Ohio over the past 20 years. He has a reputation for taking on the financial services industry during his time as Ohio attorney general.
Given his history of taking banks to court and siding with activist consumer groups, the financial services industry wondered what to expect when he was hired as head of enforcement for the CFPB.
Before he was nominated for CFPB director, industry attorney Jennifer Monty Rieker with Weltman, Weinberg and Ries, said Cordray is the most worrisome official within the CFPB. “We have a bureau that is potentially filled with enemies of the banking industry and want to bring us down,” she said at a Consumer Bankers Association conference.
“As we have stated repeatedly, we would prefer to see the Bureau run by a commission like the FDIC, the FTC, the SEC, and even the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which was the model for the creation of the CFPB,” CBA said in a statement on Cordray’s nomination.
“Richard Cordray has been with the bureau almost from the beginning and based on some of the positions the agency has taken, we have deep concerns about how he would use its new broad powers,” said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness in a statement.
However, Cordray’s nomination also generated considerable positive responses from the industries that the CFPB will regulate.
“We hope that Cordray will strive to provide regulatory certainty to an economy that is in dire need of it,” the American Financial Services Association wrote in a statement. AFSA is a national trade association with 350 members include consumer and commercial finance companies, auto finance/leasing companies, mortgage lenders, credit card issuers, industrial banks and industry partners.
Notably, Cordray received visible support from his home state. The Ohio Bankers League, four Ohio businessmen and 30 sheriffs have submitted letters of support to the Senate Banking Committee, American Banker reported.
“I know him to be bright, ethical and committed to the public good,” wrote Mike Van Buskirk, chief executive of the Ohio Bankers.
On its Financial Reform News Center blog, Wolters Kluwer detailed the response from several members of Congress.
Raj Date remains in place as de facto director of the Bureau, a position he began on Aug. 1 after the departure of Elizabeth Warren.