January 4, 2012 / 4:06 PM / 7 years ago

Republicans say legal doubts over consumer watchdog

(Reuters) - Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s plan to use a recess appointment for the new consumer bureau puts the nominee in “uncertain legal territory.”

Obama plans to sidestep Republican opposition to Richard Cordray by using a recess appointment on Wednesday, but McConnell said in a statement that the Senate is not in recess.

“This recess appointment represents a sharp departure from a long-standing precedent that has limited the President to recess appointments only when the Senate is in a recess of 10 days or longer. Breaking from this precedent lands this appointee in uncertain legal territory, threatens the confirmation process and fundamentally endangers the Congress’s role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch,” McConnell said.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said in a separate statement: “I expect the courts will find the appointment to be illegitimate.”

Reporting By Karey Wutkowski and Richard Cowan

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