Obama Skirts Senate to Appoint Consumer Chief

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President Barack Obama has used a controversial recess appointment to install the new head of a government consumer agency, a move that has Republicans on Capitol Hill hopping mad. 
  
The White House bypassed Congress to appoint former Ohio Atty. Gen. Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

"Right away, he'll start working to make sure millions of Americans are treated fairly by mortgage brokers, payday lenders, and debt collectors," Obama said.

"In fact, just this week, his agency is opening up a simple, 1-800 number you can call to make sure you're getting a fair deal on your mortgage, and hold banks and brokers accountable if you're not," he added.
   
Cordray's appointment had been delayed for months by Senate Republicans. But the president used a recess appointment to put Cordray in power, even though the Senate wasn't in recess.

"Now's the time to do everything we can to protect the consumers, prevent financial crises, like the one that we've been through, from ever happening again," Obama said.
    
Republicans claim the action is a power grab that gives one man too much authority at the expense of congressional oversight.

"Clearly, this is a very bold and extraordinary, unconstitutional move, and it's going to provoke a reaction from Republican senators," Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who sits on the banking panel, told the Wall Street Journal.

"It brings up all sorts of possible reactions, including [delaying confirmation of] the nominations that may have otherwise have happened," he said.

"The CFPB is poised to be one of the least accountable and most powerful agencies in Washington," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.

"Created by the deeply flawed Dodd-Frank law, it is subject to none of the checks that independent agencies normally operate under," he added. "And will have an unprecedented reach and control over individual consumer decisions."

The president's disdain for Congress has been a recurring theme in his speeches for several months now. 
    
He told an audience in Ohio, Wednesday, that when Congress doesn't act, the economy is hurt and people are at risk.

Some of the president's harshest critics say his actions are better suited for a banana republic than for the United States.

Still, he continues to pursue his high risk strategy, adding three members to the National Labor Relations Board, Wednesday, with another recess appointment. 

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