Obama to Make Recess Appointment for Head of New Consumer Protection Agency

President Obama will challenge Senate Republican foes of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by naming Richard Cordray as its director while Congress is out of town, according to a senior administration official.

Testifying before Congress in September, Mr. Cordray said he would make judicious use of lawsuits to enforce financial regulations.

That would allow the agency to establish new regulations over financial institutions, putting into effect elements of the financial regulatory overhaul that was one of the administration’s main achievements in Congress.

Mr. Obama’s exercise of constitutional powers to name top officials without Senate confirmation while Congress is in recess is a stiff challenge to Republicans, who have attempted to block the maneuver by holding “pro forma” sessions over the holidays.

Mr. Obama, who has lashed out at the Republicans for refusing to empower the new agency, is to make the announcement during a visit to Ohio.

“The president is committed to seeing Richard Cordray as head of the consumer bureau,” a senior administration official said. “We believe this appointment is fully within his legal rights.”

Mr. Cordray boarded Marine One with Mr. Obama on Wednesday for the short flight to Andrews Air Force Base, where he is to accompany the president to his hometown of Cleveland for the announcement. The president is expected to deliver remarks on the economy at a high school in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights.

The move came hours after the conclusion of the Iowa caucuses, and was sure to turn attention away from the Republican Party and back to the president.

In December, Mr. Cordray’s nomination was rejected after Democrats failed to achieve the 60 votes they needed to move his nomination forward.

The power struggle between the financial sector and its check-cashing, card-carrying customers has developed into one of the fault lines along which the political parties are playing out their own rivalries as the election year arrives.

Mr. Cordray is a former attorney general of Ohio noted for his aggressive investigations of mortgage foreclosure practices. Currently in charge of enforcement at the consumer agency, he was nominated in July to lead it.

Previous opposition from Republicans led to the withdrawal of Elizabeth Warren from consideration for the post. She is a Harvard law professor who was the driving force behind the agency’s creation and is now a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate in Massachusetts.

This article, “Obama to Make Recess Appointment for Head of New Consumer Protection Agency,” originally appeared in The New York Times.