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Obama Keeps Promise to Circumvent Congress
President Obama, a man who taught the Constitution for ten years and who has clearly articulated the systems of checks and balances designed by our nation’s Founders, seems to have expanded his own view of Presidential power since taking that office. His new line of reasoning says:
“But when Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. (Applause.) I’ve got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people.”[i]
Citing this “obligation,” President Obama effected the so-called “Recess Appointment” of Richard Cordray on January 4, 2012, as the first Director of the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The reality however – according to the Heritage Foundation – was that the Senate was not in “Recess,” but in a “Pro Forma” session, as proven by the fact that during the “Pro Forma” session, they had successfully passed the President’s two month extension of the payroll tax cut.[ii] In effect, Obama was usurping the authority of the legislative branch in order to avoid the requirement of Cordray’s Senate confirmation.
Is this activity consistent with our image of American Democracy?
[i] President Barack Obama, (Jan. 4, 2012), White House web-site, Speeches & Remarks, Remarks by the President on the Economy, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/04/remarks-president-economy
[ii] Andrew Grossman (Jan. 5, 2012), Heritage web-site, The Foundry, Even Obama Agrees that the Senate was not in Recess, retrieved January 7, 2012 from http://blog.heritage.org/2012/01/05/even-obama-agrees-that-the-senate-was-not-in-recess/