Recently, President Obama appointed Richard Cordray to head the new U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) without the “advice and consent” of the Senate. I find this troubling, and I value the opportunity to share my thoughts with you regarding this blatant disregard of the checks and balances entrenched in the U.S. Constitution.
The CFPB was created with a goal of promoting transparency and fairness in the financial services sector. Unfortunately, the authority of the CFPB was loosely defined under the law, and power within the agency was centralized under a single post appointed by the President. It is for this reason that I and many of my colleagues sought to delay the appointment of Cordray to head the agency until its mission was more clearly defined and power was decentralized to an executive board, similar to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Not to mention, the Senate rejected a motion to invoke cloture on Cordray’s nomination in December.
However, the administration was unwilling to compromise on our requests, and on January 4, while the Senate was in pro forma session, President Obama placed Cordray into the position, claiming his executive authority to make a recess appointment. In my view, his actions are a fundamental violation of the Constitution and must be reevaluated—especially given the Senate’s previous rejection.
On January 6, I joined several representatives in the House in a letter to the president stating our clear opposition to Cordray’s appointment. As this continues to be a hot topic of discussion, I remain committed to upholding the U.S. Constitution. This appointment violates the confirmation process and weakens legislative checks on the executive branch.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, represents Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District and serves on the House Appropriations Committee.