The Obama administration vigorously defended its recess appointment of Richard Cordray as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (pictured left) using a mix of sarcasm and pugnacity to support the appointment and question the motives of those who criticized the appointment.
In a press conference held yesterday at the White House, Carney was asked about the seeming disconnection between President Obama's statements of wanting to work with Congress and his claim that he was ‘not going to take no for an answer’ in regard to the recess appointment. Carney responded, ‘I don't think that anybody expected or expects Washington to be a campfire where everybody holds hands together and sings 'Kumbaya.' That's not what the nation's business is about.’
Stating that the administration was ‘very confident about the legal foundation upon which the president made this decision,’ Carney added that Cordray ‘has broad bipartisan support across the country’ and accused the Republicans of being ideologically opposed to the CFPB concept.
‘Senate Republicans, as a matter of ideology and politics and just the sheer fact that they don't like Wall Street reform, I guess, don't want those protections in place for average Americans,’ he said. ‘On the other side is either a process argument or, more truthfully, is an argument about the fact that they don't even want the CFPB, and they want to weaken it or water it down or eliminate it because they seem to believe that after all we went through in 2007 and 2008, the unbelievable harm that the financial crisis caused to this economy and to the American people, we don't need new rules – Wall Street should go back to the way it was [and] the financial institutions should regulate themselves.
‘They can take that on the road and try and sell it, but I don't think there are going to be many buyers,’ Carney added.
For his part, Cordray began the first day in his new job and avoided any mention of the controversy surrounding his recess appointment. Instead, Cordray outlined the CFPB's goals in a speech before the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Cordray also appeared in a video posted on the CFPB's YouTube page, where he asked consumers to submit their input to the new agency.Â