Feb 05 2013

More GOP Obstruction, Extortion and Hostage Taking

With changing how the Senate functions now done, the obstruction, extortion and hostage taking by the GOP continues. The latest target is the appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless the agency is weakened. n a letter to President Obama dated FEbruary 1, 43 Republican Senators have threaten to filibuster Mr. Cordray’s permanent appointment:

“The CFPB as created by the deeply flawed Dodd-Frank Act is one of the least accountable in Washington,” said McConnell. “Today’s letter reaffirms a commitment by 43 Senators to fix the poorly thought structure of this agency that has unprecedented reach and control over individual consumer decisions – but an unprecedented lack of oversight and accountability.” [..]

In particular, Republicans want to see the top of the bureau changed so it is run by a bipartisan, five-member commission, as opposed to a lone director.

They also want to see the bureau’s funding fall under the control of congressional appropriators – it currently is funded via a revenue stream directly from the Federal Reserve, and its funding levels cannot be altered by Congress. Republicans also want to give other regulators greater power to veto CFPB rules that could pose a threat to the safety and soundness of financial institutions.

There would have been 44 but Sen.Bob Corker (R-TN) is instead looking at legislative ways to boost the bureau’s accountability and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) is demanding that Mr. Cordray voluntarily weaken his own agency.

Mr. Cordray’s recess appointment may also be in jeopardy with the recent ruling by federal appeals court ruled that three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional.

In other words the GOP wants to hamstring any regulations of the banks and Wall Street and will hold up Cordray’s appointment until they get their way.

At The Maddow Blog, Steve Benen calls this extortion politics by the minority to nullify the will of the people and it should not be allowed to stand:

It’s not exactly news that Senate filibuster rules have been abused to the point of breaking the institution. Though the Senate operated by majority rule for about two centuries, there are now, as a practical matter, mandatory supermajorities for just about everything.

That said, some filibusters matter far more than others, and some may even rise to the level of a constitutional crisis.[..]

What we’re talking about here is a shrinking Senate minority pursuing a nullification strategy — they want to nullify federal law by abusing procedural tactics in a way that’s literally never been done in the United States. [..]

This is crazy. The Republican message, in a nutshell, is this: “Weaken consumer protections or we’ll use filibusters to block the executive branch from enforcing existing federal law.” Our system of government simply can’t work this way. [..]

And since the White House has effectively run out of legal options, that leaves one of three possibilities: (1) a minority of the Senate, for the first time in American history, nullifies federal law by abusing filibusters; (2) a majority of the Senate reforms filibuster rules through the so-called “nuclear option”; or (3) public pressure forces the Senate minority to back down.

Something’s gotta give.

How’s that filibuster agreement working out for you, Harry?

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