A good NYT editorial on the Republican nullification of the CFPB:
The consumer bureau has taken seriously its mandate to protect the public from the kinds of abuses that helped lead to the 2009 recession, and it has not been intimidated by the financial industry’s army of lobbyists. That’s what worries Republicans. They can’t prevent the bureau from regulating their financial supporters. Having failed to block the creation of the bureau in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, they are now trying to take away its power by filibuster, and they may well succeed.
The bureau cannot operate without a director. Under the Dodd-Frank law, most of its regulatory powers — particularly its authority over nonbanks like finance companies, debt collectors, payday lenders and credit agencies — can be exercised only by a director. Knowing that, Republicans used a filibuster to prevent President Obama’s nominee for director, Richard Cordray, from reaching a vote in 2011. Mr. Obama then gave Mr. Cordray a recess appointment, but a federal appeals court recently ruled in another case that the Senate was not in recess at that time because Republicans had arranged for sham sessions.
Two related points:
- Why did the legislation require a director for the agency to operate? Even granting that I can’t blame anyone for failing to anticipate that a hack Republican judge would read the recess appointment power out of the Constitution, given the context of constant Republican obstruction this was either a foolish oversight or active sabotage.
- Let’s be clear where a majority of the blame belongs here: on the Senate Democrats who prioritize their individual prerogatives over the good of the country and the long-term interests of their party by preserving the filibuster. Again, whether the relevant senators are obscenely self-centered, hidebound by “traditions” that are transparently unworthy of preservation, or are just conservatives given the effects of establishing new equilibria that make the country progressively less governable it’s all the same in the end.