We have said for some time Warren was not going to get head the new consumer financial protection agency. Obama was not willing to ruffle the banks, and Geithner, who is is most powerful Cabinet member, would not stand for it). Nevertheless, we are disappointed by this outcome. And it seems a bit churlish for this news to be leaked the day after she ran the gauntlet with the House Oversight Panel. From Bloomberg:
President Barack Obama has chosen a candidate other than Elizabeth Warren as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a person briefed on the matter.
The president’s choice is a person who already works at the consumer agency, the person said today. Obama may make the nomination as soon as next week, another person briefed on the administration’s plans said.
The choice is presumably Raj Date, a former McKinsey staffer and banking industry executive (Capital One and Deutsche Banka) whose name was floated a month ago.
But the Republicans nevertheless lost no opportunity to find opportunities to kick Warren. From FoxNews (hat tip reader Paul Tioxon). In a further sign of how petty and dysfunctional Washington has become, not only have the Republicans said they will approve no one for the CFPB post (and they’ve stymied the approval process for other important government posts) but they are denying pay to any recess appointees to key agencies.
The CFPB was not on the list, which seems curious given that Warren has been a focus of opposition, but given that the tone of the House Oversight Committee grilling of her yesterday was much more restrained than it was in May, perhaps they Republicans have concluded that they have won and too much zeal isn’t a plus (witness the backlash in his district against her chief tormenter, the Representative from Bank of America, Patrick McHenry):
The House on Friday approved an amendment to a 2012 energy and water spending bill that would cut off the salaries of recess appointees to several agencies…
The amendment prevents recess appointees at the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Land Management from getting paid. Landry suggested that if payments for recess appointees are suspended it would make the job less attractive to potential takers…
Obama has made 28 recess appointments during his presidency, but that is fewer than previous presidents. President Clinton made 139 recess appointments during his two terms while President George W. Bush made 171 in his first seven years
The article notes that this amendment has to go through a lot of hurdles to become law. But if it does, I assume that means anyone who’d be a recess appointment would have to be independently wealthy, which the Republicans no doubt assume means they’d be business friendly.
Regardless, this illustrates the Republicans see the Senate approval process as not merely providing advice and consent but as yet another opportunity to drive their political agenda. And while the tension between the Congress and the Executive was designed into the process, differences of degree can and in this case do amount to differences in kind.