The new appointment is controversial because President Obama chose to elect Cordray without Senate confirmation during Congress’ recess.
The New York Times reports:
The 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.
Supporters of Cordray’s appointment argue that even though the President nominated Cordray six months ago and won the majority of the Senate for his appointment, it is the GOP who have acted inappropriately. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney adds:
He nominated Richard Cordray six months ago. He won a majority of support in the Senate, yet Republicans refused to allow an up or down vote. This is a shame.
Still, Republican leader Mitch McConnell challenged the President’s decision, calling the appointment an abuse of power:
Although the Senate is not in recess, President Obama, in an unprecedented move, has arrogantly circumvented the American people,” he said in a statement.