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 cuts from the so-called sequester — amounting to 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.