On his way out the door, Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), left a parting gift for President Trump. Announcing his immediate resignation on Black Friday—when Americans are traditionally more focused on recovering from their tryptophan hangovers or mauling one another over the last deeply discounted big-screen television—Cordray appointed Leandra English, his chief of staff, as the deputy director of the CFPB. It was a cunning move to checkmate the president's efforts to take control of the runaway federal agency.
Trump has express constitutional authority to appoint Cordray's replacement and, in time, will do so. But like much that happens in Washington, installing a new director of the CFPB will take time. The appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, and Senate Democrats will throw as much sand in the gears of the confirmation process as a minority party can muster. The directorship could remain vacant for months, or longer. By slow-walking the confirmation process and, at the same time, blocking the president's appointment of an interim director, Democrats could for, the foreseeable future, extend Cordray's regulatory mischief and forestall efforts to roll back the CFPB's regulatory programs.