Sure, they’d be allowed to serve less than two years (see our colleague Ed O’Keefe’s summary Q&A on this) — or most likely one if Obama loses his own job. But it’s better than nothing.
Oddly enough, it’s unclear that a President Romney could kick Cordray and the NLRB folks out next year. Unlike appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president, those four appointees are in jobs with five-year terms — removable only for cause — even though, under the Constitution, they will be able to serve less than two years as recess appointments.
Obama’s move focused on posts that, if unfilled, would seriously hamper the ability of the organizations to function. The administration’s focus on filling mission-critical jobs notwithstanding, its language was somewhat expansive.
The use of 30-second “pro forma” sessions were but a ploy to thwart Obama’s ability to recess-appoint stalled nominees, the White House argued, and thus was no barrier to his constitutional authority to make recess appointments. So it’s not immediately clear why other nominees couldn’t be installed this way as well.
The Republicans blasted what they called an unconstitutional power grab, and there was chatter about litigation up to the Supreme Court — which may or may not want to get involved.
Curiously, Senate Majority Leader
(Nev.) — the godfather of the pro forma ploy, who began them in 2007 to block Bush from making recess appointments — said he supported the Cordray appointment.
Just a meet-and-greet
While Senate Republicans were outraged over Obama’s appointment of Cordray, House Republicans quickly invited the newest appointee to come over for a chat — perhaps under oath?
And this shindig is BYOL, as in“bring your own lawyers.”
Just hours after Obama named Cordray to the post, Cordray got what might be his first missive as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who heads a subcommittee of the oversight committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), issued a none-too-friendly summons. And there wasn’t even an RSVP card included.
Noting his “unprecedented” appointment, McHenry told Cordray that he’s quite looking forward to their little visit.
“The Subcommittee is deeply interested in how you will enforce and implement the unparalleled powers of your new office.”
Cordray will have the chance, during the Jan. 24 hearing, to tell the panel what he’s been up to in the first 20 days of his tenure.