Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., has requested that Richard Cordray, President Obama's controversial recess appointment to a financial industries regulatory bureau, testify before a House Oversight subcommittee about his relative autonomy from congressional oversight.
"President Obama's appointment of you as director of the agency -- in apparent contravention of constitutional requirements for a recess appointment -- now gives you the enormous authority to invalidate any consumer financial product in the United States," wrote McHenry, chairman of the Subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs, to Cordray. "The Subcommittee is deeply interested in how you will implement and enforce the unparalleled powers of your new office [as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau]."
Republicans in both the House and Senate are attacking both Obama and the CFPB over the lack of congressional oversight for their respective activities. "Dodd-Frank’s regulation blitz designed the CFPB to exercise incredible power over how hard working Americans obtain credit and manage their money," said Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., in a statement that paralleling McHenry's complaint. "Now, the President is using the same backdoor tactics to skirt accountability and ignore the Constitution."
The office of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, noted that Obama's own attorneys have argued before the Supreme Court that the president cannot make a recess appointment less than three days after the Senate adjourns. Obama made the appointment today, after the Senate adjourned yesterday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said today that Obama's decision to violate that policy "fundamentally endangers the Congress’s role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch."