President Obama appointed Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Protection Bureau on Wednesday despite deep opposition from Congressional Republicans.
“This is an extraordinary and entirely unprecedented power grab by President Obama that defies centuries of practice and the legal advice of his own Justice Department,” House speaker John Boehner said in a prepared statement, according to the New York Times. “The precedent that would be set by this cavalier action would have a devastating effect on the checks and balances that are enshrined in our Constitution.”
Obama's recess appointment of Cordray is expected to touch off a possible legal challenge and Constitutional fight, the New York Times reports. In addition to appointing Cordray, Obama is also expected to fill three vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board, which could further serve to anger Republicans who had called on the president not to do so.
Cordray's appointment was announced in front of a crowd of 1,300 people at a high school in his home town, with the president bracing himself for a potentially contentious 112th session of Congress.
“I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer,” Obama said, according to the New York Times. “I am not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people we were elected to serve.”
Obama added that Republican opposition to Cordray was simply a sign that the party was placing its interests above those or ordinary Americans.
“The only reason Republicans in the Senate have blocked Richard is because they don’t agree with the law that set up a consumer watchdog in the first place,” Obama said, the New York Times reports.
Republicans argued that Cordray's appointment was unconstitutional and called it an attempt to undercut the Senate's role of advising and consenting the executive branch on appointments.