Policy Making, Ikea-Style

January 4th, 2012 at 1:57 pm

So there’s this new dust up as the President plans to recess appoint the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray.  It’s controversial, because the Senate is in “pro forma” session, so there’ll be lots of hooting that there was no recess within which to appoint the dude.  Read about it here and here.

I’m with the Pres, who said today that when Congressional inaction “…hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.”

But here’s the thing: why do we keep having these fights about legislation that is now on the books?  The time to argue about whether we need an agency to protect consumers from damaging and deceptive financial products and practices was before the bill became law.  And we had that fight.  I promise you…I was there!

Same with the Affordable Care Act.  Those who don’t like it are welcome to campaign for its repeal, but it is the law of the land and must be implemented accordingly, unless, of course, it is found to violate the Constitution.  But too often, you hear members of Congress suggest that in blocking the ACA or financial reform they’re representing the will of the people.

Part of the problem is of course today’s hyper-partisanship but in this case, I think that interacts with the structure of these bills.

Neither of these reforms came anywhere near fully assembled.  They’re Ikea policies, with many intricate parts to be put together after the sale.  That lack of specificity helps them get across the legislative finish line, for sure, but it also provides their opponents lots of time to hide the screws, bolts, and Allen wrenches when the rest of us are trying to put the thing together.

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3 comments in reply to "Policy Making, Ikea-Style"

  1. cat says:

    I’m sure this sounds alarmist, but the Republican’s strategy of nullification harkens back to the 19th century and another political parties death throws as they tried to keep the institution of slavery alive.

    The current Republican party is trying to keep the institution of capitalist/debt/wage slavery alive and growing. I find it odd that is the ex-confederacy states who are the leading forces behind this and I’m sure its probably just me imagining it.

  2. Bumpa says:

    Gee whiz, I thought that by all they’ve accomplished this past year that congress had been in recess since they were elected.

  3. A Conservative Teacher says:

    You can agree with him and think that we need this guy appointed- but we still have a nation of laws, and by making the appointment, he acted in an illegal and constitutional manner. He doesn’t get to decide when the Senate is in recess- he doesn’t have that authority. The Senate decides when it is in recess according to its own rules, and it has not done so. Thus they are not in recess. They are holding pro forma sessions, which Obama thinks are in effect like a recess- but ‘in effect like a recess’ is not the same as ‘in recess under Senate rules’. If they are not in recess under their own rules, he doesn’t have the authority to make a ‘recess appointment’.

    Didn’t this guy teach law or something? It’s not that complicated.

    Oh, and if you start making the argument that ‘the ends justify the means and that our guys can break all the laws they want if they do what we want’, be prepared to happily and willingly help the Tea Party Congress and a Romney President break any laws as badly as they want. I for one think Obama’s behavior is criminal, and will fight against it if the GOP tries to do it later too.