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President Sidesteps GOP Obstruction With Consumer and Workers' Rights Appointments

Thursday, 05 January 2012 03:44 By Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future | News Analysis
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President Obama moved an obstructing GOP out of the way earlier today, announcing that he was making a recess appointment to get the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) up and running. Later, the White House announced he is doing the same to get the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) up and running again as well.

Wall Street-backed Republicans are going to scream and squeal and throw the usual hissy fit. You should just ignore them and thank President Obama for taking the right action to protect us as workers and as consumers. Here's why.

CFPB: Protecting Americans From Wall Street Scams, Schemes And Swindles

President Obama has made a recess appointment of Richard Cordray to the CFPB -- "America’s consumer watchdog." This means that the new agency can get going on its mission to protect citizens from Wall Street scams, schemes and swindles.

Until now Republicans had vowed to block any nominee from heading up the agency in order to keep the new agency from getting up and running. They didn't object to the qualifications of the nominee, they objected to the job that the agency is supposed to do under the law, namely protect American citizens from the various scams, schemes and swindles that Wall Street comes up with to defraud unsuspecting consumers.

Making this appointment, the President said,

The only reason Republicans in the Senate have blocked Richard is because they don’t agree with the law setting up the consumer watchdog. They want to weaken it. Well that makes no sense at all. Does anyone think the reason we got in such a financial mess was because of too much oversight? Of course not. We shouldn’t be weakening oversight and accountability. We should be strengthening it – especially when it comes to looking out for families like yours. Financial firms have armies of lobbyists in Washington looking out for their interests. It’s time someone fought for you, too.

He also said he is "obligated" to do this,

"When Congress refuses to act and as a result hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them," Obama said "I have an obligation to act on behalf of the American people."

The same logic holds true for the NLRB, an agency trying to do its job protecting working people from exploitation by huge, wealthy, powerful multinational companies.

NLRB - Protecting Workers From Big-Company Exploitation

Republicans have also been obstructing the NLRB from operating by refusing to confirm nominees -- any nominees, regardless of qualification. Just as with the CFPB, they don't object to the nominees, they object to the mission of the NLRB under the law.

As a result of this objection the NLRB was effectively shut down as of the first of the year, unable to do its job protecting American workers from exploitation.

The mission of the NLRB, by law, is "to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy." Republicans object to the purpose of the law itself, so they are obstructing its enforcement.

In a statement this afternoon President Obama announced he was appointing to the NLRB Sharon Block, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor; Terence F. Flynn, currently detailed to serve as Chief Counsel to NLRB Board Member Brian Hayes; and a former counsel in the Labor and Employment Group of Crowell & Moring LLP; and Richard Griffin, the General Counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Republicans Scream And Squeal: It's What They Do

Republicans are going to throw their usual hissy fit -- it's what they do. So while they're doing that, let's look at the facts about recess appointments. From Mother Jones, Chart of The Day: Presidential Recess Appointments:

The chart says all that needs to be said about the Republican hissy fit over Obama's recess appointments.

Mr. President, we have your back. We support you for making recess appointments to get the CFPB and NLRB up and running again! Good job!

If you agree, click this link and let President Obama know.

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson (Redwood City, CA) is a Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, writing about American manufacturing, trade and economic/industrial policy. He is also a Senior Fellow with Renew California.

Dave has more than 20 years of technology industry experience including positions as CEO and VP of marketing. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic. And he was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational applications of personal computers. More recently he helped co-found a company developing desktop systems to validate carbon trading in the US.


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