Published for www.new.citi.com, January 11, 2012

President Obama’s decision to “recess appoint” Richard Cordray as the first Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and “recess appoint” three members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) during a Congressional pro forma session has set off a firestorm in Washington. Whether you believe a Congressional pro-forma session is a recess or not, five key questions now linger:

  1. How will this impact other nominees? Has the White House decided they can live without their Treasury, FDIC, and OCC nominees? Early general consensus inside the Beltway seems to be that these individuals will not be confirmed any time soon.
  2. To what extent will litigation impact the effectiveness of the CFPB and NLRB? Legal challenges to the appointment are likely to come from every quarter – from individuals to community and labor groups to possibly even Congress. How quickly will litigation be resolved and what impact will it have on the decisions handed down by these bureaus in the intervening periods? Will the rules, regulations, and proposals coming out of the Bureau be stuck in limbo for the foreseeable future and what impact will such uncertainty have on those who must decide how to comply with their rulings?

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