89 House Democrats just fired off a letter to President Obama, prior to meeting with him in the White House, asking that he appoint Elizabeth Warren as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The list of names comes mostly from the Progressive Caucus but includes members of the House leadership like Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen, Education and the Workforce Committee ranking member George Miller and House Democratic Caucus Chair John Larson. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Brad Miller and Keith Ellison, all members of the Financial Services Committee, put together the letter. They specifically stated that Warren should be appointed by “recess appointment if necessary.” This is from the release:
“Those who are blocking Elizabeth Warren from even being nominated are members of ‘The Financial Crisis Never Happened Caucus’,” Rep. Maloney said. “In her role as Assistant to the President since September creating the CFPB, Mrs. Warren has shown her unique skills in traveling across the country and meeting with everyone to be affected by the new body: from bank executives to those with troubled mortgages. She’s demonstrated that a regulator must reach out, listen to all sides and decide issues in the public interest. It’s time for the President to appoint her to the Director’s job—regardless of her misguided Senate opponents.”
“Just last month, the CFPB proposed simple one-page disclosure forms for mortgages that make clear the terms and conditions in plain English. It’s beyond me how things like this so terrify the CFPB’s antagonists,” Maloney said.
House Democrats should CC Harry Reid on this. The motion to adjourn is not debatable and cannot be filibustered. Without an adjournment, and with continued pro forma sessions like we’re seeing in the Senate this week, there cannot be a recess appointment. Reid probably saw no point in forcing the issue when there was no imminent recess appointment; but the next recess for the Senate will be the only one between now and July 21, when CFPB moves into the Federal Reserve, and when they lose the power to regulate non-bank financial institutions without a Director.
Senate Republicans have vowed to filibuster ANY nominee to that Director position unless they get to gut the agency. They and their bretheren in the House have given their Constitutional duties over to the bank lobby. So a recess appointment is really the only avenue left. Reid needs to open up that avenue through a regular adjournment, and the House needs to sign off on it. That needs to be a focus of these efforts as much as the President. Same goes for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and other outside groups, who have gotten a quarter of a million signatures from Americans demanding an appointment for Warren. Tell it to Harry Reid, too.
The text of the letter and the signers are on the flip.
June 2, 2011
Dear Mr. President,
We appreciate your leadership last year in supporting the strong financial reforms in the Dodd-Frank bill that responded to the financial meltdown on Wall Street that led to the worst recession since the Depression.
A key element of that effort was the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with the goals of making prices clear, risks clear, making financial markets work for families and particularly protecting service members and their families from abusive financial practices. Since you appointed Professor Warren to “stand up” the bureau, she has laid the foundation as a strong advocate for consumers—something that seems to strike fear among those who are opposed to reform.
Regretfully, Republicans in the Senate have now made it clear that they oppose reform. They have vowed that they will not allow consideration of any nominee to head the CFPB until the bureau is weakened. They would rather hold your appointment hostage and obstruct the process than make sure consumers have a strong advocate on their side.
Since Republican Senators have said that no one is acceptable unless the law is weakened, we would urge you to nominate Professor Warren as the CFPB’s first Director anyway. If Republicans in the Senate indeed refuse to consider her, we request that you use your constitutional authority to make her a recess appointment. We can think of no better person to be the first Director of this incredibly important consumer financial protection regulator.
Jackson Lee, Sheila
Luján, Ben Ray
Van Hollen, Chris