But wait, there's more! Republicans are trying to abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Agency by refusing to confirm anyone to run it. James Fallows calls this
the "New Nullification," which isn't a great comparison, but he's right enough on the merits that I don't much care:
Before the episode recedes fully from the news, please read this item, by Jonathan Cohn on Thursday evening, about the extraordinary step the Senate Republicans took that day. Cohn says that the Republican minority's success in blocking a vote on Richard Cordray's nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau amounts to "nullification," quoting Thomas Mann of Brookings to the same effect. They are right. [As is David Weigel in Slate.] (Plain Dealer photo of Cordray.)
Nullification is obviously a loaded term. Historical context here: think John C. Calhoun, South Carolina, and struggles over federal/state rights in the years before the Civil War. But it is an appropriately dramatic term for the on-the-fly rewriting of the Constitution that the unified Senate Republicans have been carrying out these past five years.
Oh, and he also catches
Lindsay Graham (what is it about South Carolina?) saying this awfully directly:
Maybe it's something about being a U.S. Senator from South Carolina. Today on Meet the Press, Sen. Lindsay Graham flat-out declared the Republican intention to nullify the already-passed legislation to establish a Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. According to the transcript, with emphasis added:
So this consumer bureau that they want to pass is under the Federal Reserve. No appropriation oversight, no board. It is something out of the Stalinist era.
The reason Republicans don't want to vote for it is we want a board, not one person, making all the regulatory decisions, and there's no oversight under this person. He gets a check from the Federal Reserve. We want him under the Congress so we can oversee the overseer.
It is embarrassing but apparently necessary to point out that the bureau has already passed, it is the law of the land, and if the Republicans "don't want to vote for it" or "want" it run a different way, their option under the Constitution is to change the legislation or restrict the bureau's funding. Instead they are acting as if the established rules for "how a Bill becomes a Law" do not apply if they do not "want" them to.
This strategy depends absolutely for its success on its not being called what it is: Constitutional radicalism, or nullification. This is an extension of the media normalization of the filibuster, through stories that say a bill has "failed" if it doesn't get 60 votes.