Senate GOP Blocks Obama from Naming Warren Head of CFPB During Recess

Right before memorial day recess, Republicans decided to prevent the Senate from completely adjourning by forcing three pro-forma sessions over the next 10 days.

Many in Congress expected President Obama to use the recess to appoint Elizabeth Warren as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is set to regulate Wall Street and open its doors on July 21.

These “pro forma” sessions, in which the chamber officially opens for the day and then gavels to a close right away, can be handled by two lawmakers and aides.


Although Warren is the bureau’s chief architect and Democrats’ first choice to run it, Senate Republicans signaled they would wage a bruising confirmation fight if Obama nominated her. Instead, Obama tapped Warren to get the bureau up and running, and deferred his selection of a nominee.

One unnamed Democrat told Politico that a recess appointment over Memorial Day was unlikely even before Republicans made it impossible. “I don’t think [Republicans’] procedural tactics in this recess made any difference, other than showing how determined they are to obstruct the bureau,” the aide said during an interview.

A summer recess appointment is more likely, the aide told Politico, though it’s unclear whether Obama will nominate Warren.

But the Senate’s GOP latest maneuver — which can be repeated in future recesses — might have slammed the door on that notion, leading many to now wonder what a headless CFPB looks like according to the Hill.

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  • The GOP is blocking appointment of the person who is arguably best-qualified to head the agency, before the president announces who his choice may be.

    • HECM Dude,

      It is surprising to see the Republicans go to this extent just to stomp out this appointment.  Is Ms. Warren to Republicans what Judge Bork was to the Democrats?  Or is this nothing more than a political ploy to trade the appointment for something else they want?

      Time will tell.  I am still not ruling out a summer recess appointment. 

  • Didn’t the GOP promise to not do exactly what they are now doing?

    I know it’s politics, but these people have no shame. I hope Warren runs for a Senate or House seat if she doesn’t get the nomination.

  • Seems the ex-Harvard Psych major has considerable support among the community. 

    What qualifications does Elizabeth Warren have to run this uber-agency that will oversee everything financial in the country from wall street hedge funds, to the effect of derivatives, defining the tipping point for “too big to fail”, to the expanse of the mortgage industry?

    Perhaps there is no one person with such expertise and this may be why the Republicans are suggesting that a bipartisan committe of 5 board members with a variety of financial expertise be appointed rather than another intellectual cronie from academia elevated to “Czar” of the financial world.

    One other question, what positions of leadership has this potential “Czaress” held in her personal or professional history? What are some examples of her demonstrated abililty to lead people to success in the execution of their responsibilities resulting in the achievement of a mission accomplished by a private enterprise or government agency?

    An agency with the magnitude of responsibility that CFPB will have demands that any one appointed to lead this agency is qualifed by their experience and expertise. To appoint “anyone” just because they are available is irresponsible and an enormous dereliction of the duty of our elected representatives.

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