Obama’s Recess Appointments: Is the President Abusing His Power, or Gittin’ R’ Done? By Rebecca E. Neely Two wrongs don’t make a right.
It seems this age old adage applies regarding Obama’s recent recess appointments of Richard Cordray to direct the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Sharon Block, Richard Griffin, and Terence F. Flynn to serve on the National Labor Relations Board. Why? Because it’s debatable about whether the Senate was in fact, in recession. Republicans cried foul. They’ve been holding pro-forma sessions every few days, and pointed out during one of these sessions, that, with just two members of the Senate on the floor, the Senate approved unanimously the bill to extend the 2011 payroll tax cut for two months in 2012. However, White House spokesman Jay Carney was quoted as having said during a recent briefing: “The president’s counsel has determined that the Senate has been in recess for weeks and will be in recess for weeks. The Constitution provides the president the right to make appointments during Senate recesses, and the president will use that authority to make this appointment.” The question then becomes, undoubtedly, who’s perpetrated the greater wrong, which results in endless, useless finger pointing, but in the end, Democrat v. Republican, President v. Senate, it’s the American people who pay the price in the form of weakened leadership, or no leadership at all. Opinions vary, as always, on the wisdom, or folly of Obama’s move. On one hand, Obama got ‘r done. Without these key appointments, these important agencies would essentially be inoperable. On the other hand, did the President shoot himself in the foot, politically? Is he weakening the office of presidency, in general; is he in effect, sending a message that it’s okay to do whatever is necessary to get his way? What does this say to not just our nation’s current and future leaders, but young people all over the world, who quite literally, are the future?
The United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard was quoted as having said in a recent interview about the President’s action: “Republicans left the President with no choice but to recess appoint these four people…President Obama showed today that he will use every means at his disposal to circumvent Republican opposition to safeguarding workers and consumers. There is no question that each of the appointees is highly qualified – and should have garnered Senate approval – something that could have occurred if the Republican minority did not use the filibuster to block every appointment. President Obama has shown he is willing to use normal legal procedures to ensure the proper functioning of the U.S. government in the service of the American people. The Steelworkers are proud that the president has confronted the Party of No.” However, Edwin Meese, who formerly served as U.S. attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, and currently serves as chairman of the Center for Legal & Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, wrote of the appointments, proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword: “The Senate was not in recess when these purported appointments were made. President Obama’s flagrant violation of the Constitution not only will damage relations with Congress for years to come but will ultimately weaken the office of the presidency. There eventually may be litigation over the illegal appointments, but it will be a failure of government if the political branches do not resolve this injustice before a court rules. To prevent future tyrannical usurpations of power, Congress must act to redress this serious threat to our liberty.” Unfortunately, the appointments have become not about what these knowledgeable individuals bring to the table and what they can do to further the interests of the American people, but are instead shrouded in legal uncertainty and outrage, which almost certainly weakens their ability to lead, and could beget further delays in positive, forward movement. Once again, it seems, the American people pay the price.
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It seems that to put a stop to such disagreements and abuses, the decisions and choices of our government have to be more about whatâ€™s best for the American people, rather than using them as leverage in a never ending battle for political control. Perhaps considering what may result in the greater good could
bring some clarity to the myriad, murky layers of conflicting agendas, opinions and motivations coloring the political and legislative landscape today.
Published on Sep 5, 2012
It seems this age old adage applies regarding Obama's recent recess appointments of Richard Cordray to direct the new Consumer Financial Pro...