This looks like it could be the new Republican argument against Cordray. Because the CFPB comes from Dodd-Frank, and Dodd-Frank says the CFPC can’t commence operations until after its head is confirmed by the Senate, Cordray is CFPB head in name only until Senate confirmation.
Weird, right? The legislation that created the Consumer Financial Protection Board could be the thing that stops its head from doing his job (via Politico).
But so far that’s just one statement from Ohio (Cordray’s home state) Republican Senator Rob Portman. Here’s what he said in a press release about Cordray’s appointment:
The statute creating the CFPB makes clear that only Senate confirmation of a Director – not a recess appointment – can activate the new powers of this agency to regulate consumer transactions with Main Street businesses.
That statute comes from none other than Dodd-Frank.
Basically Portman’s saying that Cordray could move into his new office if he wants to, he can even turn on the lights, but he can’t pick up the phone, make a call, and give any orders.
Of course, the White House is saying this is ridiculous. Here’s White House Spokesman Eric Shulz (from Politico):
“The CFPB’s authorizing statute does not limit the president’s ability to exercise his constitutional power to appoint a director during a recess. The CFPB statute, like other statutes, makes clear that the director is a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed position, but it does not preclude a recess-appointed director from serving.”
That’s, naturally, what you would expect the White House to say.
It should be noted that Portman has no personal vendetta against his fellow Ohioan, he’s actually towed the Republican line on Cordray without any notable malice. Here’s what he said about Cordray’s appointment back in December (from the Columbus Dispatch).
“If Rich Cordray is not confirmed, then I am committed to sit down with him again and work with him and the White House to come up with a better agency, one that actually has some accountability,” Portman said in a Dispatch interview last night. “I think Rich is interested in doing just that.”
That said, this whole, “Cordray is the head in name only until Senate confirmation” theory looks like it will be the new Republican line.