Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Obama, Obstruction, & Occupy

Today, on the heels of last night's buffet of crazy, President Obama is making a big power play.

The White House confirmed Wednesday morning that President Obama will announce a recess appointment for Richard Cordray to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at a speech in Ohio later today. Cordray was a well-liked Ohio Attorney General until last year, after he was toppled by the GOP midterm wave in 2010.

Cordray’s an accidental victim of a brazen act of GOP obstruction. They’re refusing to allow an up-or-down vote on any CFPB nominee until the agency itself is fundamentally weakened — an extra-legal attempt to nullify a key portion of an act of law. [...]

Though the Obama administration has made a couple dozen recess appointments since 2009, only a tiny fraction have been for officials in truly crucial positions, and none have occurred in the past year. This has frustrated progressives and good government advocates who worry that the executive branch has become riddled through like Swiss cheese with vacancies and can’t function properly.

So what does this mean? Well, the CFPB can finally function more properly. We know the G-O-TEA faction in Congress kept filibustering Cordray in hopes of weakening CFPB and ultimately undoing financial regulatory reform. In addition, Richard Cordray himself really seemed to scare the Wall Street beholden G-O-TEA-nuts.

[...] Cordray has a clear pro-consumer record, and has not been afraid to challenge the banks, making him an ideal candidate to lead the bureau when it officially stands on its own this week.

He was at the forefront during the foreclosure fraud scandal, and was “the first to sue a mortgage lender over incidents of foreclosure fraud,” launching a suit against GMAC Financial. “What we’re talking about here is not just sloppy paperwork,” Cordray said at the time. “We’re talking about fraud in a court of law. The [foreclosure document signers] were lying under oath, to a judge.” He’s called the foreclosure practices of the nation’s biggest banks “a business model built on fraud.”

As attorney general, he supported efforts to rein in payday loans, one of the most pernicious financial products. Cordray backed legislation to cap the interest rate that payday lenders could charge and sought the ability for his office to prosecute unlicensed lenders.

The financial industry is already up in arms about his nomination, with one attorney who represents the industry saying that of all the bureau’s officials, Cordray “frightens me the most.” Another derided him as having “all the hard edge and ambition of Warren without the charm.” [Consumer watchdog and now US Senate candidate Elizabeth] Warren herself supports the choice of Cordray, writing in an op-ed today that “he will make a stellar director.”

So do we really need any more evidence as to who stands with the 99%? Seriously. Look at who's allowed Wall Street to turn into an unregulated casino. And look at who wants to clean up the mess there and restore confidence in the American economy. Look at who best serves the wants of the 1%. And look at who best looks out for the needs of the 99%.

Today, President Obama decided to finally make a move and take action to ensure the CFPB gets up and running. In other words, he again did something for the 99%. And the G-O-TEA? Well, even Republicans acknowledge their own "leaders" are nothing more than agents of the top 1%... And they're still crazy, too.

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