Yesterday, President Obama delivered a speech in Shaker Heights, Ohio, announcing his “recess” appointment of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) (and now also members to the NLRB). First off, the Senate is not in recess, it is in Pro Forma session, which was designed to keep the President from making recess appointments, specifically recess appoints for nominees who have been rejected by the Senate. President Obama’s refusal to abide by decades of precedent is an egregious abuse of power. We suspect that if President George W. Bush had done such a thing, there would have been calls from the left for his impeachment – or worse (even liberal Washington Post writer Ezra Klein concedes this point).
Back in 2005, then-Senator Obama claimed that recess appointments were “the wrong thing to do.” He also said nominating a person as a recess appointment is “…somebody who couldn’t get through a nomination in the Senate. And I think that that means that we will have less credibility…” (The State Journal-Register, 8/2/05, link not available). Of course, then-Senator Obama was talking about Bush’s nomination of Jon Bolton as ambassador to the U.N.; but the sentiment is the same. Then-Senator Obama believed Bolton was a bad choice for the position, and felt that a recess appointment was bad for the American people. Today, Senate Republicans believe that the board Cordray is being appointed to is not only flawed, but will do more harm than good. So, they opposed his recess appointment.
Today, Heritage Action for America released the following statement from CEO Michael A. Needham regarding the “recess” appointment of Richard Cordray to serve as director of the CFPB, even though the Senate is not in recess:
Today, President Obama decided to bypass the Constitution and the system of checks and balances that have served our country so well. Rather than heed the advice of the Senate, President Obama decided to embark on an arrogant and unprecedented power grab. This stunning appointment represents a fundamental threat to the balance of powers and the role of the legislature. Heritage Action calls on Congressional leaders to vigorously protest and seek legal remedy to President Obama’s outrageous action. Americans deserve accountability, not another Washington power grab.
The Heritage Foundation’s James Gattuso and Diane Katz have compiled a list of the top ten worst federal rules of 2011:
“Hindsight is supposed to be 20/20, but looking back on the past 12 months, it’s tough to see any sense in many of the Administration’s regulatory missteps. Of course, there are bound to be a few howlers when government churns out more than 3,500 rules in a year, including dozens unleashed by Obamacare, Dodd–Frank, and the perpetually errant Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But by any standard, 2011 brought forth a remarkable number and variety of regulatory blunders.”
Ah, the Internet. The closest thing left to an actual free market. Sure, it’s not perfect, but nothing is, and trying to make something perfect never works. In fact, it usually makes things worse. But that’s never stopped Congress before (think subsidies), so why should it stop them now?
H.R.3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), seeks to correct the legitimate problem of online piracy by imposing government regulations and mandates that could end up harming Internet security and free speech. James Gattuso, the Heritage Foundation’s Senior Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy, recently wrote a paper on the unintended consequences of SOPA, citing:
“There is no doubt that online piracy is a real problem. Websites selling counterfeit goods, including tangible items, such as branded clothing and pharmaceuticals, and digital goods, such as Hollywood movies, have proliferated on the Internet. Such activity is a form of theft, and the federal government has a legitimate role in preventing it. Currently, U.S. authorities can, and do, shut down domestically based “pirate” websites by seizing control of their domain names under asset-forfeiture laws. But a large number of rogue sites are located outside the United States, putting them largely out of the reach of U.S. authorities.
“SOPA is intended to undercut such rogue sites by prohibiting third parties from enabling their activity.”
President Obama’s chief economist Alan Krueger said today that uncertainty surrounding the payroll tax cut extension was clouding the U.S. outlook:
“Forecasting the economy is hard in part because it is hard to forecast whether Congress will continue the policies that are helping the economy to recover from the deepest recession in the post-war period,”
He might have been talking about the payroll tax cut, but it’s nice to finally hear someone in this administration admit that uncertainty will dampen our hopes for economic recovery. Now if only they applied that same logic to the massive number of costly and burdensome regulations put forth each month by their very own agencies.