Barack Obama, President Obama — January 5, 2012 at 7:56 am

The amazing brilliance of Obama’s January 4th recess appointments


Yesterday, I wrote about President Obama giving recess appointments first to Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and then to three National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) members.

In a blockquoted piece from Talking Points Memo was this tidbit:

On the unprecedented nature of the appointment, McConnell and Boehner have a decent case. Both parties have used pro forma sessions to avoid recesses and thus block Presidents from making recess appointments — and, kosher or not, Presidents have respected this. Note — this is why some Cordray advocates were hoping to see him recess appointed yesterday, instead of today.

They were hoping to see the appointments on Tuesday rather than Wednesday because on Tuesday, for a brief moment, they were between the first and second sessions of the 112th Congress. This is a commonly used time for recess appointments, even when the use of pro forma sessions is going on to prevent recess appointments. And make no mistake, the Republicans are only using pro forma sessions to make sure the CFPB and NRLB are kept from doing their jobs.

So, why wait until Wednesday? Because President Obama and his team are political masterminds.

Talking Points Memo tells us why:

By definition, a recess appointment expires at the end of the next full session of the Senate. If a nominee is recess appointed in the middle of a Senate session, he or she serves through the rest of that year, and through the next session.

Yesterday, it turns out, the Senate made the switch from the first to the second session of the 112th Congress. Some advocates hoped Obama would use the brief seconds between those two sessions to make the appointment. Because previous Presidents had seized that opening to make numerous recess appointments, Obama could have avoided a procedural or legal fight with the GOP. The rub, though, is that Cordray’s appointment would have expired at the end of the year. The “next full session,” after all, would have began mere seconds after his appointment was official.

By acting today, with session two of this Congress technically under way, Obama has given Cordray the rest of this session and the full next session of the Senate to run the bureau. Cordray could potentially serve through the end of 2013.

In other words, by waiting one day, President Obama gave the CFPB an extra year of life under the direction of Richard Cordray, helping it to gain a foothold in doing radical and socialist things like protecting Americans from unscrupulous, unfair, and, often, downright criminal behavior on the part of financial institutions.

This, of course, gives Republicans like Mitch McConnell a very big sad. Because, really, at the end of the day, who doesn’t enjoy seeing the American people ripped off by the 1%?

Oh, and let us not also forget this: by doing it on Wednesday, Mitt Romney’s pathetic, tiny little win in Iowa kinda sorta got lost in the news cycle.

Thumb in the eye to Republicans? Hell with that. I’m calling it a kick in the groin.

As I said yesterday, “You want a president who is going to call bullshit on the Republicans and push back against their crap? Well, kids, you got one. Game ON!!!