House members urge recess appointment

A group of 89 House members – including all but two from the Bay Area’s delegation – wrote to President Obama today urging him to make a recess appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

news conference 6-2-2011Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., held a news conference today on Capitol Hill to announce the letter as well as a petition with 250,000 signatures, collected by Progressive Change Campaign Committee and CREDO Action through online campaigns.

“Elizabeth Warren has proved to be an effective fighter who puts America first by working to protect the middle-class,” Ellison said. “Professor Warren knows that our future prosperity depends upon working for the economic interests of the overwhelming majority of our citizens. Elizabeth Warren needs to be confirmed without further delay.”

Grijalva said Warren is worth fighting for, even if it has to be a recess appointment. “Whoever heads the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be the strongest consumer watchdog in the country. That’s not a position where you can settle for second best. Elizabeth Warren is honest, you can’t question her credentials, and she’s a true advocate for families and consumers’ interests. I strongly support her and hope to see her on the job as soon as possible.”

The only Bay Area members who didn’t sign the letter are House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., explained the GOP’s opposition to confirming Warren’s appointment on “Meet the Press” this past Sunday:

Well, we’re pretty unenthusiastic about the possibility of Elizabeth Warren. We’re pretty unenthusiastic, frankly, about this new agency, and we’ve sent a letter to the president saying that some changes need to made—be made in the CFPB, the Consumer Financial Protection Board, because as it’s currently constituted, it answers to no one and, I think, could be a serious threat to our financial system.

The CFPB was created under last year’s Dodd-Frank financial reforms to ensure that consumers have the full, clear and complete information they need to choose the financial products and services — including credit cards, student loans and mortgages — that are best for them.

Read the full text of the letter, after the jump…

June 2, 2011

Dear Mr. President,

We appreciate your leadership last year in supporting the strong financial reforms in the Dodd-Frank bill that responded to the financial meltdown on Wall Street that led to the worst recession since the Depression.

A key element of that effort was the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with the goals of making prices clear, risks clear, making financial markets work for families and particularly protecting service members and their families from abusive financial practices. Since you appointed Professor Warren to “stand up” the bureau, she has laid the foundation as a strong advocate for consumers—something that seems to strike fear among those who are opposed to reform.

Regretfully, Republicans in the Senate have now made it clear that they oppose reform. They have vowed that they will not allow consideration of any nominee to head the CFPB until the bureau is weakened. They would rather hold your appointment hostage and obstruct the process than make sure consumers have a strong advocate on their side.

Since Republican Senators have said that no one is acceptable unless the law is weakened, we would urge you to nominate Professor Warren as the CFPB’s first Director anyway. If Republicans in the Senate indeed refuse to consider her, we request that you use your constitutional authority to make her a recess appointment. We can think of no better person to be the first Director of this incredibly important consumer financial protection regulator.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Ms Warren practically invented this job and is the logical candidate for it. But the Repubs smell blood and the Progs are deepening the wound. They would Rather Be Left Than Electable.

  • Elwood

    Recess appointments are wrong and pathetic, no matter which party is doing it.

    If you can’t get confirmed, you shouldn’t have the office.