Scott Brown Now Supports Obama’s Recess Appointment Of Rich Cordray
In a telling sign of the shifting political landscape, Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown now says he supports Pres. Obama‘s recess appointment of Rich Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But in July 2010, Brown strongly urged Obama not to make a recess appointment. While Brown’s evolution on the issue has been consistent, it is also quite possible that he is feeling the heat from his popular challenger in next year’s senate race: Elizabeth Warren, the bureau’s founder.
Brown has long supported the creation of the CFPB and Cordray as a nominee, and only opposed the use of the recess appointment, which bypassed Senate approval. However, as the ordeal has dragged on leaving the agency leaderless, Brown has more openly opposed his Republican colleagues on this issue. According to a statement from his office, Brown finally saw that the president’s actions were necessary to overcome a destructive partisan impasse:
“I support President Obama’s appointment today of Richard Cordray to head the CFPB. I believe he is the right person to lead the agency and help protect consumers from fraud and scams. While I would have strongly preferred that it go through the normal confirmation process, unfortunately the system is completely broken. If we’re going to make progress as a nation, both parties in Washington need to work together to end the procedural gridlock and hyper-partisanship.”
Some, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have questioned the legality of the recess appointments. But the White House similarly questioned the use of “pro forma sessions” to technically keep the Senate constantly in session, preventing a recess appointment. According to the Senate website, a pro forma session by definition conducts “no business”, and sometimes lasts “only several seconds”.
In the middle of all this, Brown is seeing a sharp drop in the wave of anti-incumbent, even Tea Party-ish sentiment that swept him in to office in the bluest of states during the midterm upheaval of 2010. Brown has been a quite moderate Republican, but he is facing a woman being hailed as the pugnacious savior of the left.
Alternatively, the continuing deadlock could have just given him the opportunity to push his stance more aggressively.
What do you think? Is Brown right about how broken the system is? Is he eyeing his reelection chances? Or something else?