President Obama’s decision to make a slate of recess appointments last month amounts to “a day of infamy,” according to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
“Jan. 4, 2012, may well be a day that will live on in infamy as a day the Congress ceded one of its rightful powers to the executive,” Lee, a freshman who was elected in the 2010 tea party wave, wrote via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.
He closed the message with the hashtag “#CFPB” – the acronym for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was established under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform legislation.
Lee’s mention of Jan. 4 was a reference to the day that Obama tapped Richard Cordray to lead the consumer watchdog agency. Obama also appointed several officials to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board that day.
Lee was among those testifying Wednesday at a House Oversight Committee hearing at which Obama’s recess appointments came under harsh criticism by several GOP members, as our colleague Ed O’Keefe reports. (Lee used the same “infamy” reference during his testimony, O’Keefe noted.)
Some Republicans have vowed to block progress on any further Obama appointments until the White House addresses their concerns; Lee told CNN on Wednesday morning that he feels “duty-bound to resist the consideration and approval of additional nominations until the president takes steps to remedy the situation.”
Among the changes Republicans would like to see made to the CFPB are the replacement of its head with a five-member board and the oversight of its funding to be carried out by Congress instead of the Federal Reserve.
Democrats and the Obama administration have blasted the GOP’s move to block the confirmation of further nominees, arguing that it is the type of obstructionism that spurred the president to seek to make an end run around Congress in the first place, a claim that Republicans dispute.