Snap-O Fact #79
President Obama Sidestepped The GOP Blockade To Activate 2 Vital Citizen Protection Program Appointments!
President Obama made an aggressive decision on Jan 04, 2012 to make four recess appointments after Republicans signaled they would confirm no one, no matter how qualified, to several key posts. The President's action, belatedly followed through on his warning in 2008 that his opponents should not bring a knife to a gunfight. At the same time it confirmed his commitment to fight more stridently for the people's rights.
White House lawyers determined that the Senate is considered to be in recess as long as it is not conducting legislative business and President Obama could therefore move ahead with his appointments. Note that this was also the view of the George W. Bush administration which made a total of 171 such appointments… second only to Ronald Reagan's 243. Although the Republicans expressed mock outrage, the fact is that President Obama has used this executive option less than any other modern president. His 3 year total now stands at 29 or less than 20% of his predecessor's total.
The most significant recess appointment launched the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an important, consumer protection office promoted by the President. This bureau is very likely to become very popular among the public because its mandate is to protect consumers from potential unscrupulous excesses by profit hungry businesses. Ironically, the Bureau had been created by Congress more than a year earlier but it could not be activated without the appointment of a leader. The GOP has been obstructing funding, staffing, and everything else to do with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But now, after being unable to appoint a director because of GOP parliamentary tricks that prevented the appointment, Obama made his “recess appointment” of Ohio Attorney General, Richard Cordray, a highly regarded public servant. This agency can now do its job of protecting you and me.
Similarly, President Obama made three other recess appointments to fill three vacancies on the National Labor Review Board. The NLRB is the independent governmental agency that conducts elections for labor union representation and addresses unfair labor situations. The positions had been vacant since the Bush administration, leaving the Board unable to function. This is because congressional Republicans effectively filibustered Obama's nominees. In the meantime, the Supreme Court had ruled that decisions by the remaining two members were invalid due to lack of a quorum. The three vacancies filled by President Obama, reestablished a quorum, enabling the board to resume issuing decisions on labor-related issues.