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The Hill (Washington, DC)

House Dems Push Recess Appointment of Elizabeth Warren

Peter Schroeder

House Democrats are urging President Obama to use a recess appointment to install Elizabeth Warren as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (REUTERS/Kevin) Lamarque

House Democrats are urging President Obama to use a recess appointment to install Elizabeth Warren as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Republican senators have vowed to block any nominee to the bureau until Democrats agree to weaken its powers.

Several Democratic House members are circulating a letter among colleagues, asking for their support for the recess appointment.

"Please join us in sending a letter to President Obama requesting that he use every option available to him, including a recess appointment if necessary, to ensure that Ms. Warren is the CFPB's first director," the lawmakers wrote in a "Dear Colleague" letter.

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Brad Miller (D-N.C.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) are behind the effort.

Warren currently is serving as an assistant to the president in charge of setting up the CFPB.

"Since Republican Senators have said that no one is acceptable unless the law is weakened, we would urge you to nominate Professor Warren as the CFPB’s first director anyway," the draft states. "If Republicans in the Senate indeed refuse to consider her, we request that you use your constitutional authority to make her a recess appointment."

Nearly every Senate Republican announced they would block any nominee to head the CFPB unless several changes were made to its structure — including replacing the bureau's director with a board of directors and bringing its budget within the congressional appropriations process. Conservatives argued the CFPB lacks accountability in its current structure and needs better congressional oversight.

"This is about accountability," said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee. "The bureau, as currently structured, lacks any semblance of the checks and balances inherent in the Constitution."

With 44 senators joining the effort, any nominee to head the bureau could be blocked by a filibuster.

However, some Democrats and Warren backers argue the GOP move opens the door for the president to use his recess appointment powers to name Warren to the spot.

The Democrats behind the letter argue that the unified GOP opposition gives the president "no choice but to make a recess appointment" to put in a place a director for when the agency goes live in July.

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