Liberal groups hoping President Barack Obama would use the moments today between the first and second session of the 112th Congress to make a recess appointment of Richard Cordray to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be disappointed.
A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday that Obama would not be making any recess appointments today and declined further comment.
Several advocacy groups have been pushing Obama for months to make a recess appointment of Cordray while Republicans have gone to extraordinary steps to block Cordray and other Obama nominees, forcing the Senate to stay for pro forma sessions. Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have pledged to block Cordray until a new law is passed reforming the CFPB to dilute its power.
McConnell blocked a host of appointments at the end of 2011 after the White House refused to give him assurances that it would not make recess appointments during the holiday break.
Nonetheless, there appeared to be a window today, albeit a brief one, for the White House to push through nominees if it chose to do so, as Congress formally closed the first session and convened the second moments later.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.