Last fall Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) visited Heritage to talk about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the “unaccountable” nominee to head the agency. At the time, there was speculation President Obama would attempt to bypass the U.S. Senate to install Richard Cordray as CFPB director. That’s exactly what happened today in what Heritage’s Todd Gaziano calls a “tyrannical abuse of power.”
At the time of his visit in October, Shelby said bluntly, “I think it would be devastating if we let [Obama] make a recess appointment.”
Of course, this purported “recess appointment” comes with the Senate not even in recess. Congress is still in session, and the Senate is having pro forma sessions every few days based on requirements of the Constitution.
The debate over Cordray and former CFPB special adviser Elizabeth Warren dates to the bureau’s creation. Senate Republicans had asked the White House to make three reforms to the CFPB. They included creating a board rather than a single czar to run the agency, subjecting the CFPB to the congressional appropriations process, and making sure it considers impact of new rules on the safety and soundness of financial institutions.
“Forty-four of us have written a letter to the president and asked for three changes,” Shelby said. “We haven’t heard from the president. Maybe he’s off campaigning. … Until we hear from him, I don’t believe we’re going to confirm anyone.”
Heritage has outlined a number of problems with the CFPB. Research fellow Diane Katz writes that “eliminating the bureau outright would be the best option.”