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Rep. Bachus Says President Obama’s Appointment Circumvents Constitution

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Congressman Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia released a statement condemning President Barack Obama’s appointment of Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without Confirmation by the United States Senate.

In the press release Rep. Bachus wrote “The President’s unprecedented decision to attempt to circumvent the Constitution and ignore the law he himself signed is the clearest indication yet that he has abandoned any effort to work in a bipartisan manner to strengthen accountability and oversight of this new government bureaucracy.  Some of the changes we seek, such as creating a bipartisan commission to govern the CFPB, are exactly what Democrats in Congress have voted for.”

Bachus warned that President Obama’s actions could weaken the fragile American economy.   “The greatest threat to our economy right now is uncertainty, and the President just guaranteed there will be even more uncertainty.  Small businesses already being crushed by government regulations and consumers who will have an unaccountable Washington bureaucrat making decisions about the financial services they can and cannot use are the ones who stand to suffer.”

In 2009, when the President’s Democratic Party had the majority in the United States Congress, the Democrats passed legislation creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CF.  The new government agency will give the federal government vast new power to write regulations regulating non-bank lenders such as payday loan lenders, check cashing services, debt collectors, mortgage originators, and student loan providers

Critics contend that the new agency will wield too much power.  Rep. Bachus had attempted to pass a compromise bill “The bipartisan commission legislation introduced by Chairman Bachus was included as part of H.R. 1315, sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy.  H.R. 1315 passed the House on July 21, 2011 with a bipartisan vote of 241-173.  The bill:

•establishes a five-member, bipartisan commission to manage the CFPB;

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•creates a meaningful review process of rules promulgated by the CFPB that takes into consideration how a proposed rule could endanger the safety of consumers’ financial institutions; and

•ensures there is a Senate-confirmed chair of the bipartisan commission before the CFPB could exercise its new regulatory authority.”

Rep. Bachus’s bill was not acted upon by the Democrat controlled Senate.  President Obama’s appointment of Cordray was opposed by all but one Republican Senators.  Under the rules of the Senate, the Democrats did not have enough votes to pass a motion to end debate and confirm the President’s appointment.  Republicans also blocked the motion to recess the Senate for the holidays expecting President Obama to make recess appointments.  Rather than compromising with Republicans on the governance of the CFPB or appointing somebody other than Cordray, President Obama declared that the Senate was in recess thus he had the power to appoint Cordray anyway.  A move that Republicans believe is unconstitutional.  Chairman Bachus wrote “the President appears to have made a purely political decision designed to placate his liberal base.  In doing so, President Obama has delegitimized the CFPB and has opened the agency up to legitimate legal challenges that will cripple it for years. “

Similarly, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas J. Donohue said in a press release: “To say we are disappointed in the move by the President today would be a gross understatement,” Donohue said. “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.”

Rep. Bachus is Chairman of the powerful United States House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.  Chairman Bachus represents the Sixth District of Alabama.  He is opposed in the March 13 Republican primary by Stan Cooke and Al Mickle.  To read Chairman Bachus’s statement in its’ entirety go to:

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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