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Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:55 AM

Employees? Consumers? Feh!

Employees? Consumers? Feh!

Harold Meyerson

The Republican war on the NLRB and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Should the Supreme Court uphold it, last Friday’s decision by three Reagan-appointees to the D.C. Circuit Appellate Court appears at first glance to rejigger the balance of power between Congress and the president. The appellate justices struck down three recess appointments that President Obama had made to the five-member National Labor Relations Board during the break between the 2011 and 2012 sessions of Congress partly on the grounds that Congress wasn’t formally in recess, since one and sometimes two Republicans showed up to nominally keep it in session for the sole reason of denying Obama the right to recess appointments. Two of the three justices went further, ruling that the president can’t really make recess appointments at all.

It’s not that Obama has made a lot of recess appointments. He’s only made 32—compared to the 171 made by George W. Bush; one of Bush’s appointees was John Bolton to the post of UN ambassador. Presidents have been making recess appointments since the mid-19th century, but this is the first time that the courts have objected. Certainly, the three judges on the D.C. appellate court voiced no such opinions when Bush was president.

The real issue here is who Obama appointed, and to what agencies. The recess appointments he made in the 2011-2012 break were to the NLRB (two Democrats, one Republican) and the directorship of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray). Obama had sent these nominations to the Hill, but invoking the 60-vote supermajority rule, Republicans refused to consider them. They made clear that their problem with Cordray wasn’t Cordray; it was that they opposed the very existence of the Bureau, which had been created as part of Dodd-Frank in 2010. The idea of an agency that represented financial consumers solely—as opposed to other agencies like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Controller of the Currency—struck them as a terrible idea. They proposed to amend the act by reconstituting the bureau as an agency, with multiple board members, that represented banks’ interests as well as their consumers....But Democrats still controlled the Senate in 2011-12, and Obama the White House, so the Republicans had no chance of passing legislation that would reduce the new agency to impotence. However, Dodd-Frank did stipulate that unless the agency had a director, it couldn’t write rules for banks’ treatment of consumers, so Senate Republicans filibustered against Cordray’s confirmation.

<...>

What congressional Republicans have done, then, is used their power in the Senate minority not just to deny the president’s appointments, though they had majority support. They have blocked these particular appointments because they effectively repeal the legal authority of these two agencies to do anything. They’ve found a way to repeal some or all of major, foundational laws—the 1935 National Labor Relations Act and 2010’s Dodd-Frank financial reform bill—that empower employees in their workplaces and bank customers, without actually having the votes to repeal the laws. Indeed, this is repeal on the sly, since the laws are still on the books, but largely unenforceable.

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http://prospect.org/article/employees-consumers-feh


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Reply Employees? Consumers? Feh! (Original post)
ProSense Jan 2013 OP
ProSense Jan 2013 #1
ananda Jan 2013 #2

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:43 AM

1. Kick for

the Republican war on labor and consumer rights.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:46 AM

2. The people have to really want unions.

When people decide to organize in a meaningful and persistent way, only then will regression stop and progress begin again.

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