* Obama has nominated former Ohio AG Richard Cordray
* Senate Republicans have threatened to block nominee
* Democrats have urged Obama to use recess appointment
(Adds Senate hearing postponed, background)
By Dave Clarke
WASHINGTON, Aug 2 Congressional Republicans
plan to block President Barack Obama from appointing a director
for the new U.S. consumer agency over the August congressional
A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
confirmed on Tuesday that the Senate would not fully recess for
the August break. Instead, it would hold several "pro forma"
sessions that prevent so-called "recess appointments."
Obama nominated former Ohio attorney general Richard
Cordray in June to be the first person to run the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau, one of the most contentious parts
of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law.
Democrats and Republicans are feuding over when or whether
to confirm Cordray.
Senate Republicans have promised to block a vote on his
nomination unless the agency is led by a board instead of a
director, its budget is approved by Congress, and other
regulators have more say in its oversight of banks.
Democrats have argued that such changes would weaken the
agency, and some of them have urged Obama to exercise his
authority to appoint Cordray without a Senate vote when
Congress goes on a weeks-long break this month.
"I will continue to fight to stop the president from
appointing far left ideologues," Republican Senator David
Vitter said in a statement on Tuesday. "If the president had
his way, this super bureaucracy would be under the supervision
of a credit czar who could do serious damage to our still
The agency is charged with policing products like mortgages
and credit cards to help prevent the kinds of problems in
lending markets that contributed to the financial crisis.
Recess appointments tend to inflame partisan tensions with
lawmakers complaining that the president is circumventing the
senate's authority to discuss and vote on nominees.
The Senate Banking Committee was scheduled to hold a
hearing on Cordray's nomination on Thursday, but on Tuesday the
committee announced the meeting is being postponed until Sept.
House Republican leaders forced the issue of preventing a
recess appointment by deciding to have the House technically
stay in session for part of the August recess, which showed
they would not allow the Senate to fully go on its own break.
Under the Constitution for either chamber to go on more
than a three day break the other chamber has to give its
(Reporting by Dave Clarke, editing by Bernard Orr)