WASHINGTON — Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, chairman of the Financial Services Committee, has told Richard Cordray not to bother. This is part of the recent evidence that government is getting some adult supervision.
Barack Obama used a recess appointment to make Cordray director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But a federal circuit court has declared unconstitutional three other recess appointments made the same day because the Senate was not in recess. So Hensarling has told Cordray not to testify before his committee: “Absent contrary guidance from the United States Supreme Court, you do not meet the statutory requirements of a validly serving director of the CFPB, and cannot be recognized as such.”
Last week the Federal Aviation Administration promoted chaos in travel by furloughing air traffic controllers, supposedly because the sequester cuts — 4 percent of its budget — cannot be otherwise implemented. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., notes that the FAA says its 15,000 air traffic controllers must be furloughed in the same proportion as its 32,000 other employees, who include librarians, historians, speechwriters, PR people, congressional and White House liaisons, and many others perhaps less essential to the FAA's primary mission than are people in O'Hare's control tower.
On Friday, the eve of its recess, Congress fixed this problem, explicitly granting the FAA flexibility it already had. Then the legislators dashed to Washington's airports. Amazing, the dispatch with which the government acts when its stupidities inconvenience the rulers as much as the ruled.
The rest of the sequester will still be administered so as to make the government as painful as possible to the public, in the hope that the public will support more spending by and for the government. Obama may think his powers of persuasion can convince people that as chief executive he is a mere bystander in this executive branch sadism. But about those powers …
In 2009, he flew to Copenhagen to give a speech about himself (he referred to himself 26 times in 48 sentences), expecting this to enchant the International Olympic Committee into awarding Chicago the 2016 games. Unenthralled, the committee made Chicago the first city eliminated from the competition.
Since then, Obama has campaigned for Obamacare without making it popular and against Republican candidates without success in 2010. Still, his faith in the potent ointment of his words is probably unshaken by even the failure of his barnstorming in support of gun legislation almost weirdly unrelated to the event — Newtown — to which it was supposedly a response.