Congressman Leonard Lance today criticized President Obama's decision to bypass long-standing precedent and nominate Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) via a recess appointment.
"Today's recess appointment of Richard Cordray breaks long-standing precedent that limits U.S. Presidents to recess appointments only when the Senate is in a recess of 10 days or longer," Lance said. "President Obama has appointed Mr. Cordray without Senate advice and consent and without the adjournment of Congress, ignoring the fundamental principle of checks-and-balances."
The U.S. Constitution stipulates that the House and Senate cannot adjourn for longer than three days without the consent of the other body -- agreed to by a concurrent adjournment resolution. According to the Speaker of the House neither chamber has passed an adjournment resolution, and instead both have been holding pro-forma sessions every three days.
In line with decades of congressional practice, the U.S. Department of Justice has found that Congress must be in recess more than three days before a President can make a recess appointment. According to news reports White House lawyers believe the President can ignore these sessions as not legitimate -- a perspective that has not been adopted by other modern Presidents.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law. For his part, Lance voted twice against the Dodd-Frank law and opposed the creation of the CFPB calling it, "a bureaucratic overreach by the executive branch that will restrict small bank lending and ultimately hurt the economy."
"It is of my opinion that the President should withdraw this unprecedented recess appointment and adhere to decades of precedent. Mr. Cordray's nomination should be sent to the U.S. Senate for its consideration as part of the Senate's constitutional role to advise and consent on presidential appointments," Lance concluded.