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Jan. 4, 2012 

Public Citizen Applauds Obama’s Recess Appointment of Richard Cordray to Lead Consumer Agency

Statement of David Arkush, Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

We applaud President Barack Obama for exercising his constitutional authority during the current congressional recess to appoint Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

American families need a federal agency that will focus on protecting them, not the big banks. The financial industry went wild in recent years, engaging in a raft of abusive financial practices in areas ranging from mortgages and credit cards to payday loans.

It is about time for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to be fully functional. Corday is a promising director, and he is more than ready to get to work.

Some Republicans are claiming that the president lacked authority to make a recess appointment. They are wrong. The Senate is effectively on a five-week recess. Since senators left for vacation in December, the chamber has held a pro forma session once every three days for just a few moments. These sessions do not bar the president from making a recess appointment. Whether the current recess is viewed as five weeks or three days long, it is long enough. Two previous presidents – Harry Truman and Theodore Roosevelt – have made recess appointments in recess of three or fewer days.

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