President Obama is thumbing his nose at Republican opposition and will today name a new US chief consumer watchdog: Richard Cordray. Yep, the same Cordray who Senate Republicans blocked early last month. Obama's decision to make a recess appointment is certain to cause an uproar—he's essentially declaring the Senate's short off-and-on legislative sessions a sham intended to block his appointments, and the White House is expecting considerable criticism and perhaps a court challenge.
But the White House says Obama was left with little choice to get the consumer agency fully running after months of stalemate. With a director in place, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be able to start overseeing the mortgage companies, payday lenders, debt collectors, and other financial companies often blamed for practices that helped tank the US economy. Obama will announce his decision later today during an economic event in Ohio, with Cordray alongside him. Cordray is to take over the job later in the week and stands to serve for at least the next two years, covering the length of the Senate's session. (Read more Richard Cordray stories.)