2012 ushered in a new President Obama who cast caution to the wind and threw away his attempts at conciliation efforts with the GOP as he made 3 recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) and named Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Board . Cordray is the former Attorney General for Ohio. Republicans had effectively blocked Cordray’s appointment after failing to block the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Board in 2010. The President drew the praise of progressives and all who support working Americans’ rights and consumer rights. The Consumer Financial Protection Board’s aim is to protect citizens from Wall Street banks and lenders attacks on them.
The NLRB is the agency that is responsible for holding corporations responsible and protects the safety, health and rights in the workplace. Without the NLRB working efficiently, employers can fire and deny employees earned benefits and fair wages. Since January 1, the NLRB had been effectively shut down. It is the President’s job to see that the government runs and works well. With the sluggish economy, it is now even more important that the NLRB work well and people get paid the wages they are due. The economy works best when businesses play by the rules and respect worker’s rights.
Republicans disapprove of the President’s recess appointments and vow to fight back in court saying the appointments were not made during their recess. If the truth be told, the GOP members of Congress have been on a paid recess for quite a long time.
President Obama has made only 30 recess appointments. President George W. Bush made over 170, President Ronald Regan made over 240 and President Bill Clinton made 171. In fact, the past 3 GOP presidents have made recess appointments to the NLRB. Like everything in the Obama Administration, President Obama has shown great restraint in making recess appointments. Hopefully 2012 is the start of when President Obama gets his swagger back and gets and keeps his mojo working. To the Republicans, I say in the words of George W. Bush, “Bring it On.”
Debbie Hines is a lawyer, former prosecutor and legal /political commentator appearing in national and local media including CNN, the Michael Eric Dyson Show, XM Sirius radio, NBC , ABC and CBS -Washington, DC affiliates, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She founded LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. She also writes for the Huffington Post.