Recess Appointments May ‘Poison the Well,’ U.S. Chamber Warns

Jan 9, 2012

With Congress on holiday recess, President Obama unilaterally moved forward with several controversial recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Board.

The U.S. Chamber strongly denounced the president’s unprecedented decision to circumvent Congress and recess appoint Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

“To say we are disappointed in the move by the President would be a gross understatement. This controversial appointment is unprecedented, constitutionally questionable, and puts the authority of the director and the validity of the bureau’s work in legal jeopardy,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue. “The President had a choice to work with Congress to implement the necessary reforms for this agency. Instead, he chose a political maneuver that ignores the advice and consent power of the Senate, harms consumers, and ensures that the CFPB’s authority will be challenged and resolved by the courts.”

Donohue went on to note that the Senate has made it clear that structural changes are needed before it would confirm a director to the CFPB. The Chamber has urged Congress to create a bipartisan board to run the agency, give itself authority to approve the agency’s budget, and give federal banking regulators more power to stop CFPB rules that could jeopardize banks’ financial soundness. 

“We strongly believe that it’s important to protect consumers from predatory lending, financial scams, and fraud in the marketplace. But to be effective, CFPB must do so in a transparent and accountable manner,” Donohue said. “Under its current structure, the CFPB is rife with uncertainty and has the potential to harm our economy and job creation.”

The Chamber also questioned the president’s recess appointments of Sharon Block, Terence F. Flynn, and Richard Griffin to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“The NLRB’s credibility has suffered greatly during this administration due to an aggressive agenda favoring the unions,” said Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten. “The president could have chosen to work with the Senate and stakeholders to see if a package of nominees could be confirmed that would help restore the agency’s independence and credibility. Instead, today’s steps will simply further poison the well with regard to labor-management issues pending in front of the Board and on Capitol Hill.”

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