President Obama won’t be making any recess appointments of Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when Congress is out of town next week, because Congress has arranged for itself to technically remain in session.
It’s no secret that Obama wants the consumer advocate Warren to head the agency when it official stands up in July, but Republicans think she is too radical in her approach to regulating lenders and won’t confirm her. Obama decided to make her de facto director until he must appoint a congressionally confirmed director in July by sticking her in the Treasury Department and making her the White House Consumer Czar. Republicans charge she is already staffing up the place with lefties sure to give lenders a harder time than they deserve.
The White House has let leak that it’s talking to other candidates, but that they can’t get top prospects to take the job because they think Warren deserves it. This is all crocodile tears, of course, since they could bring Warren into the interview to say, “go ahead, take the job, no prob.” It’s clear they are looking for a way to stick Warren in, even if they have to wait until the month-long August recess to do it.
It’s one of the great ironies of the day in Washington that the new Bureau, established by the Dood-Frank financial overhaul law, is an oversight agency that itself won’t be getting serious oversight.
Everyone knows that money talks in Washington, and bullshit walks. Congress does not appropriate the budget for CFPB, which instead will gets its money from the Federal Reserve, which makes its own money.
This is the basis for the contemptuous performance we see below. I’ve witnessed administration officials depart hearings because they had previously scheduled appointments, but I’ve never seen one refuse a request to stay a few extra minutes. Given the sensitivity of Warren’s position and her need to explain herself to Congress, this is all the more remarkable.
Look, some members of Congress are clowns, others are fools, and some are geniuses. But they are the people’s representatives in Washington. For a federal official to defy them in such a way is disgraceful and can only result from her not needing Congress’ money.
And it shows that the agency will be giving Congress the finger every day of the week unless reforms proposed by Republicans to make the place more accountable are enacted.