Politico tried to gin up some controversy about the Elizabeth Warren selection for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by wondering about “the delay,” and they won the morning enough to get a question about it into the President’s press conference. I would hesitate to go as far as Greg Sargent and suggest that Obama hinted at the appointment. First of all, meeting with her twice in the last month was a good enough hint. Second, the question was specifically about Warren. Third, Obama said nothing in the presser that he hasn’t already said about Warren – that she invented the concept of the CFPB, that he’s known her a long time and that she’s a dear friend. Parsing the word “official” in his line “I’m not going to make an official announcement until it’s ready” seems to me to not be worth the effort.
What a legitimate reporter would have asked is why the Treasury Department hasn’t named an acting director, which they can do without Senate confirmation. Instead, we heard this weird statement about “are you concerned she wouldn’t be able to get confirmed” when she doesn’t need to be to get started. I will say that Obama’s reply on that was pretty solid.
Concerned about her Senate confirmation? I’m concerned about all Senate confirmations these days. If I hire a dog catcher… I’ve got people who were voted out of committee unanimously and I can’t get a vote on. Judges, homeland security. Determined minority in the Senate insists on a 60-vote filibuster on everyone, even if after we break the filibuster, they get 90 votes. They’re just playing games. It’s time to stop.
The President could just recess appoint everyone, including judges, but those terms would run out pretty quickly. So banging on Republicans, which actually has succeeded in getting a large handful of nominees through, seems to be the alternative.
Point is, I wish we had a media that understood how Elizabeth Warren could be the acting director of the CFPB today.