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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorials/commentary: Getting around the Senate ...

Above: Words below are Richard Cordray's story. Now he wants to hear yours.

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- Power grabs: Obama is right to name Cordray - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Yes, President Obama’s decision to use a recess appointment to name a boss for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is something that might fairly be described as "a power grab."

Some Republicans are fuming at the news that former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray will be running the agency without Senate confirmation. What they don’t say is that the power here is being grabbed away from obstructionist tools of Wall Street — we’re looking at you, Sen. Orrin Hatch — and placed in the service of the American people.

The CFPB was created by an act of Congress. The president has the power, and thus the duty, to appoint someone to run the agency. Without a boss, the body created to stand with the consumer against banks, mortgage lenders and other agents of financial chicanery will be unable to do its job.

Which, of course, is just what Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee of Utah, along with other Senate Republicans, want. ...

... The Constitution allows a president to fill an executive vacancy any time the Senate is in recess, and make that appointment stick until the next session of the Senate ends. Both parties have used the device over the years, and both parties have complained about it. This recess appointment could give Cordray and the CFPB about two years to prove their worth by limiting the ability of financial titans to fleece the consumers of America.

If President Obama is re-elected — and that is still a big if — it will be because he convinced the American people that moves like this are in their interest, and that those who stand against them are in the service of someone else.

Maybe we're moving toward that Dream Headline spine transplant?

- The president calls the GOP's bluff - St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial

With long overdue defiance, President Barack Obama on Wednesday named former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to be director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Hours later, he appointed Sharon Block, Terence Flynn and Richard Griffin to fill three vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board, which would have had to cease operations without new members to constitute a quorum. ...

Elseweb (not as much editorial commentary on this as I had expected):

- The consumer bureau gets a chief - New York Times Editorial

... The appointment means the bureau will have a strong pro-consumer leader and can now exercise its full powers — regulating consumer products and practices both at banks and nonbanks, including mortgage brokerages and student loan providers. It also means that Mr. Obama has confronted Republican obstructionists. ...

- The ex-law professor makes a power grab - Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

... As a senator, Obama excoriated the practice of recess appointments (George W. Bush actually waited for a real recess) and joined the lefty lawyers in yelping that Bush was shredding the Constitution by, among other things, making signing statements and refusing to implement parts of legislation. It turns out the constitutional law professor’s respect for the Constitution was only a campaign talking point.

- A constitutional moment - The New York Sun

... It happens that this newspaper is against the independence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which reports to neither the president nor the Congress. But ... It strikes us that the Senate is also playing with fire by having its pro-forma micro sessions every three days precisely to avoid going into recess. Is that they way the Founders reckoned things would work? ...

- A recess ruckus - Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard Editorial

... GOP lawmakers were trying to force changes that would restructure the new agency’s governance and funding — or abolish it entirely. Without the votes to do so through traditional legislative means, Republicans resorted to the filibuster, providing the latest entry to a long list of reasons why Americans have grown disgusted with a Congress that has become hopelessly ensnarled in partisan gridlock. ...



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