President Obama today appointed Elizabeth Warren to oversee the new consumer regulatory agency created by the recently enacted Wall Street Reform legislation.
What’s interesting is that he chose to appoint her to a position that doesn’t require Senate approval.
From the moment he took office, the GOP has pulled out all the stops to obstruct, delay and attack the Obama Administration and the President’s agenda. One of the main weapons in their arsenal has been their ability not to block nominees—they rarely have the votes—but to make confirmation such a time consuming chore as to grind the government to a halt.
Today’s move by Obama is a clear move that he gets it and he’s not going to take it lying down. It sends a strong message that he’s more interested in governing the country than is playing the Republican game of obstruct, obstruct, obstruct.
Senate Republicans and their underwriter, the US Chamber of Commerce, don’t much like this turn of events:
"By not allowing Ms. Warren’s nomination to be considered through the regular order of the full Senate confirmation process, the administration has circumvented one of the very few checks on a big new agency that already has been given an unprecedented concentration of regulatory powers," said the Chamber of Commerce’s David Hirschmann, in a statement released this morning. "This maneuver is an affront to the pledge of transparency and consumer protection that’s purported to be the focus of this new agency."
Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee also pushed back, protesting the administration’s "circumventing" of the confirmation process in a letter to the President released shortly after Warren’s appointment was leaked last night.
"It is a key responsibility of the U.S. Senate and its committees of jurisdiction to advise and consent and one that I believe was not meant to be abdicated by the Executive Branch’s use of appointments," Corker wrote, adding that given the recent creation of the position in question – "unprecedented in the nature of its unfettered and unchecked authorities" – the confirmation process was particularly important.
Can you hear that? We’re playing the world’s saddest song on the world’s tiniest violin, just for them.