Congress Now Optional? – Reason #69

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Obama Sees Congress as Optional

According to a recent New York Times article by Peter Baker, the President has now signed into law, a bill that gives him the right to immediately appoint scores of presidential appointees without Senate confirmation.  While many would agree that this bipartisan bill further erodes our system of checks and balances, few should be surprised.  We might even argue that the new law merely gives legitimacy to a practice already implemented by Obama – a practice exemplified by his appointment of Richard Cordray.

While Obama seems to have manufactured a “Recess Appointment” scenario in order to appoint Richard Cordray as the first Director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the problem appears much worse than a single abusive action to avoid Senate Confirmation hearings on one appointee.  Indeed, in an interview with Rob Quirk, of KOAA, Colorado Springs, Colorado, the President commented easily on what has become his increasingly familiar position:

“Well, what we’re going to have to do is continue to make progress on the economy over the next several months. And where Congress is not willing to act, we’re going to go ahead and do it ourselves. But it would be nice if we could get a little bit of help from Capitol Hill.”[i]

While this may seem very action oriented, it also provides a clear distinction between the prerogatives of a President and the prerogatives of a Monarch.  If every President had the prerogative to decide when and why to circumvent congressional authority, our Democracy would soon be a historical footnote.  A vote for Obama in 2012 will take us one step closer to that day.

[i] President Barack Obama, (2011), Real Clear Politics web-site, Obama: “Where Congress Is Not Willing To Act, We’re Going To Go Ahead And Do It Ourselves”, retrieved January 7, 2012 from


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