The White House announced today that President Barack Obama plans to attempt a “recess appointment” of Richard Cordray to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in addition to three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board — and that’s despite the fact that Congress is not officially in recess, as required by the Constitution.
It’s a move that Heritage’s Todd Gaziano called a “tyrannical abuse of power,” and it’s one that has Members of Congress up in arms. Here are some of their responses:
This is an extraordinary and entirely unprecedented power grab by President Obama that defies centuries of practice and the legal advice of his own Justice Department. The precedent that would be set by this cavalier action would have a devastating effect on the checks and balances that are enshrined in our Constitution.
This recess appointment represents a sharp departure from a long-standing precedent that has limited the President to recess appointments only when the Senate is in a recess of 10 days or longer.
Breaking from this precedent lands this appointee in uncertain legal territory, threatens the confirmation process and fundamentally endangers the Congress’s role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch.
Congress has a constitutional duty to examine presidential nominees, a responsibility that serves as a check on executive power. But once again, the President has chosen to circumvent the confirmation process.
This is a very grave decision by this heavy-handed, autocratic White House. Circumventing the Senate and tossing out decades of precedent to appoint an unaccountable czar to appease its liberal base is beneath the Office of the President. The legislative branch exists as a check and a balance on the Executive. By opening this door, the White House is saying it can appoint any person at any time to any position it chooses without the advice and consent of the Senate.
This is not how our Republic was designed to function. The American people deserve to be treated with more respect than this White House is affording them with this blatant power grab. Senators of both parties should be deeply troubled the President’s actions today – actions which will come back to haunt them.
Today’s appointment of another unaccountable czar is an arrogant abuse of presidential power.
We are left to wonder why the president is unwilling to work with Congress to adopt common-sense improvements in accountability and transparency that would protect small businesses from more job-killing regulations and red tape.
The President has taken an unprecedented step: he has bypassed Congress to appoint a nominee, previously rejected by the Senate, to lead an agency with significant powers and no accountability to the American people.