REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON THE ECONOMY
Shaker Heights High School
Shaker Heights, Ohio
1:26 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Ohio! (Applause.) Ah, it is good to be back in Ohio. (Applause.) It is good to be back in Shaker Heights — (applause) — home of the Red Raiders. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Mr. President, I love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. And I’m glad to be back. (Applause.) I’m glad to be here.
I want to thank your mayor, Earl Leiken, for hosting us today; — (applause) — your superintendent, Mark Freeman; — (applause) — the principal here, Mike Griffith. (Applause.) Well, and I know — I’m pretty sure we’ve got a couple of congresspeople here, but I don’t see them. Where are they? Okay, we’ve got Marcia Fudge. (Applause.) Marcy Kaptur is here. (Applause.) Dennis Kucinich. (Applause.) Betty Sutton in the house. (Applause.) Outstanding members of Congress, doing the right thing every day. So we thank them all for being here. (Applause.)
Now, I understand the folks here at this school have a pretty good basketball team. (Applause.) Boys and girls. (Applause.) Unfortunately, I have no eligibility left. (Laughter.) So I can’t play with you.
I want to wish everybody a happy New Year — 2012 is going to be a good year. (Applause.) It’s going to be a good year. And one of my New Year’s resolutions is to make sure that I get out of Washington and spend time with folks like you. (Applause.) Because folks here in Ohio and all across the country — I want you to know you’re the reason why I ran for this office in the first place. You remind me what we are still fighting for. You inspire me. (Laughter.) Okay, you do. You remind me that this country is all about folks who work hard and where responsibility pays off, an America where anybody who puts in the effort and plays by the rules can get ahead.
That’s the America you deserve. (Applause.) That’s the America we’re working to build. That’s why I told Congress before the New Year they couldn’t leave for vacation until we made sure 160 million working Americans wouldn’t get hit with a tax hike on January 1st. (Applause.)
Now, this wasn’t easy. It should have been easy, but it wasn’t. But in the end, we got members of both parties to come together and make sure that you could keep more money in your paychecks each month. And you’re keeping that extra $40 in every paycheck because we made sure that we didn’t stunt the recovery. We made sure that families got the break that they need. And that means more security for your families. It also means a boost for our economy at a time when we’ve got to do everything we can to keep it growing. Because more money spent by more Americans means more businesses hiring more workers.
And so when I — when Congress returns, I’m going to urge them to extend this tax cut all the way through 2012, with no drama, no delay. (Applause.) Do the right thing. It is a no-brainer. Let’s get it done. Let’s pass these tax cuts. (Applause.)
Now, we still have more to do. So today, we’re taking another important step — one that will bring us closer to the economy that we need, an economy where everybody plays by the same rules.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes!
THE PRESIDENT: And to help us do that, I’m joined by somebody you might recognize — Richard Cordray. (Applause.) Son of Ohio; a good, good man. (Applause.) Today I’m appointing Richard as America’s consumer watchdog. (Applause.) And that means he is going to be in charge of one thing: looking out for the best interests of American consumers. Looking out for you. (Applause.)
His job will be to protect families like yours from the abuses of the financial industry. His job will be to make sure that you’ve got all the information you need to make important financial decisions. Right away, he’ll start working to make sure millions of Americans are treated fairly by mortgage brokers and payday lenders and debt collectors. In fact, just this week, his agency is opening up a simple 1-800 number that you can call to make sure you’re getting a fair deal on your mortgage, and hold banks and brokers accountable if you’re not. (Applause.)
Now, I nominated Richard for this job last summer, so you may be wondering why am I appointing him today. It would be a good question. (Laughter.) For almost half a year, Republicans in the Senate have blocked Richard’s confirmation.
AUDIENCE: Booo –
THE PRESIDENT: They refused to even give Richard and up or down vote. Now, this is not because Richard is not qualified. There’s no question that Richard is the right person for the job. He’s got the support of Democrats and Republicans around the country. A majority of attorney generals — Richard is a former attorney general — a majority of attorney generals from both parties across the country have called for Richard to be confirmed. Your local members of Congress who are here today — they support him. He has the support of a majority in the Senate. Everyone agrees Richard is more than qualified.
So what’s the problem, you might ask. The only reason Republicans in the Senate have blocked Richard is because they don’t agree with the law that set up a consumer watchdog in the first place. They want to weaken the law. They want to water it down. And by the way, a lot of folks in the financial industry have poured millions of dollars to try to water it down.
That makes no sense. Does anybody think that the reason that we got in such a financial mess, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in a generation — that the reason was because of too much oversight of the financial industry?
THE PRESIDENT: Of course not. We shouldn’t be weakening oversight. We shouldn’t be weakening accountability. We should be strengthening it — especially when it comes to looking out for families like yours. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: The financial firms have armies of lobbyists in Washington looking out for their interest. You need somebody looking out for your interest and fighting for you, and that’s Richard Cordray. (Applause.)
Now, I have to say Richard is a really nice guy. (Laughter.) You know, you look at him and you think, this guy is not somebody who’s going around picking fights. And yet, this fight on behalf of consumers is something that Richard has been waging here in Ohio for the better part of two decades. (Applause.)
As your attorney general, he helped recover billions of dollars in things like pension funds on behalf of retirees. He protected consumers from dishonest lending practices. Before that, Richard was the state treasurer, where he earned a reputation for working with folks from across the spectrum — Democrats, Republicans, bankers, consumer advocates — had a great reputation across the board doing the right thing.
And, Cleveland, you’ve seen the difference that Richard can make for consumers, and I have, too. And that’s why I want Richard to keep standing up for you — not just here in Ohio, but for consumers all across the country.
Now, every day that Richard waited to be confirmed — and we were pretty patient. I mean, we kept on saying to Mitch McConnell and the other folks, let’s go ahead and confirm him. Why isn’t he being called up? Let’s go. Every day that we waited was another day when millions of Americans were left unprotected. Because without a director in place, the consumer watchdog agency that we’ve set up doesn’t have all the tools it needs to protect consumers against dishonest mortgage brokers or payday lenders and debt collectors who are taking advantage of consumers. And that’s inexcusable. It’s wrong. And I refuse to take no for an answer. (Applause.)
So I’ve said before that I want to look for every possible opportunity to work with Congress to move this country forward and create jobs. I’m going to look for every opportunity to try to bridge the partisan divide and get things done — because that’s what the American people need right now. And that means putting construction workers back on the jobs repairing our roads and our bridges. (Applause.) That means keeping our teachers in the classrooms. (Applause.) That means keeping our cops and firefighters doing what they do, protecting us every day. (Applause.) That means helping small businesses get ahead. (Applause.) That means serving our veterans as well as they’ve served us, like this young man right in the front. We are grateful for him, for his service. (Applause.)
These are ideas that have support from Democrats; they have support from Republicans around the country, independents around the country. I want to work with Congress to get them done.
But when Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. (Applause.) I’ve got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. And I’m not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we were elected to serve. (Applause.) Not with so much at stake, not at this make-or-break moment for middle-class Americans. We’re not going to let that happen. (Applause.)
For way too long, we’ve had a financial system that was stacked against ordinary Americans. Banks on Wall Street played by different rules than businesses on Main Street. They played by different rules than a lot of community banks who were doing the right thing across the country — hidden fees, fine print that led consumers to make financial decisions that they didn’t always understand.
Richard and I, before we came here, had an opportunity to visit with a wonderful elderly couple — the Easons. And Mr. Eason is a former Marine, served in the Korean War. Ms. Eason makes a really good sweet potato pie. She gave me one. (Applause.) I’m going to eat it later, after. (Laughter.) I didn’t want to eat it before because I didn’t want to get sleepy having a big piece of pie right before. (Laughter.)
But their story was the story of a lot of folks in this region, where a mortgage broker came to them, said that they could do some home repair for a few thousand dollars, and they ended up getting scammed; the loans got flipped. They ended up owing $80,000, almost losing their home, and the repairs were never made.
Those kinds of practices, that’s not who we are. We cannot allow people to be taken advantage of. And it’s not just because it’s bad for those individuals. All that risky behavior led — helped to contribute to the economic crisis that we’re all still digging ourselves out of. All those subprime loans, all those foreclosures, all the problems in the housing market — that’s all contributing to an economy that’s not moving as fast as we want it.
And that’s why, last year, we put in place new rules — new rules of the road to make sure that a few bad apples in the financial sector can’t break the law, they can’t cheat consumers, they can’t put our entire economy in danger. And many of these provisions are already starting to make a difference. For the first time in history, we put in place a consumer watchdog — someone whose only job is to look out for the interests of everyday Americans.
And we are so fortunate to have somebody like Richard who’s willing to do it, despite great sacrifice to his family. He’s the right man for the job. (Applause.)
So if you’re a student — I see some young people out here — (applause) — his job will be to protect you from dishonest lending practices and to make sure that you’ve got the information you need on student loans. (Applause.) He has already started up an initiative called “Know Before You Owe.” (Laughter.) That’s a good slogan — “Know Before You Owe.” You don’t want to owe and then know. (Laughter.)
If you’re a veteran, he’ll help make sure that you aren’t taken advantage of when you’re coming home from serving your country. And it turns out that military families are some of the folks who are most vulnerable to some of these financial abuses.
If you’re a senior, Richard is going to help make sure you don’t lose your home or your retirement because somebody saw you as an easier target. And that’s what happened to the Easons. Endia, who I think is here — Ms. Eason, are you here? You’re somewhere here. There’s — Ms. Eason is down there. Ninety-one years old. (Applause.) And as I mentioned, Ms. Eason’s husband, William, is a former Marine — also a former boxer. So don’t mess with him. (Laughter.)
And I just want to repeat, 10 years ago they were approached by a broker who offered them a loan to make needed repairs on their home; made everything sound easy. The Easons agreed. Broker ended up disappearing. They get left with $80,000 in debt, almost lose their home. They didn’t lose it because of the intervention of some terrific non-for-profits that Richard, when he was treasurer here in Ohio, helped to support. (Applause.)
East Side — that’s right. (Applause.)
Now, the Easons are good people. They’re what America is all about. They worked hard. They served their country. They saved their money. They didn’t live high on the hog. It’s a modest house. They earned the right to retire with dignity and with respect, and they shouldn’t have to worry about being tricked by somebody who’s out to make a quick buck. And they need somebody who is going to stand up for them, and millions of Americans need somebody who is going to look out for their interests. And that person is Richard Cordray. (Applause.)
And we know what would happen if Republicans in Congress were allowed to keep holding Richard’s nomination hostage. More of our loved ones would be tricked into making bad financial decisions. More dishonest lenders could take advantage of some of the most vulnerable families. And the vast majority of financial firms who do the right thing would be undercut by those who don’t.
See, most people in the financial services industry do the right thing, but they’re at a disadvantage if nobody is enforcing the rules. We can’t let that happen. Now is not the time to play politics while people’s livelihoods are at stake. Now is the time to do everything we can to protect consumers, prevent financial crises like the one that we’ve been through from ever happening again. That starts with letting Richard do his job.
So I know — let me just close by saying this. I know that you’re hearing a lot of promises from a lot of politicians lately. Today you’re only going to hear one from me. As long as I have the privilege of serving as your President, I promise to do everything I can every day, every minute, every second, to make sure this is a country where hard work and responsibility mean something and everybody can get ahead. Not just those at the very top, not just those who know how to work the system, but everybody.
That’s what America has always been about. (Applause.) That’s what America is going to be about today and tomorrow and 10 years from now and 20 years from now. And with the help of people like Richard Cordray, that’s the country that we will always be.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
TO IOWA CAUCUS ATTENDEES
Via Video Teleconference
8:10 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Iowa! How are you guys? I miss you all. And I understand that it’s actually warmer tonight than it was four years ago, which means, I’m sure, great turnout at the caucuses.
You know, on the ride over here I was reminiscing with David Plouffe. He was showing me actually an old advertisement from Iowa — in fact, the last advertisement we did in the Iowa campaign. And other than pointing out how much more gray I am and how much older I look now than I did then, we actually were just remembering the incredible energy and excitement and the spirit of common purpose that those Iowa caucuses represent. It was an example of how the campaign was not about one person, but it was about all of us coming together to try to deliver the kind of change that had been talked about a long time in Washington, but all too often hadn’t been delivered on.
And it’s because of you that I had this extraordinary honor over the last three years of working to try to deliver on that change. And obviously we didn’t know at the time how severe the economic crisis was going to be. We didn’t fully appreciate at the time the worldwide magnitude of the financial crisis. But we knew even then that the middle class had been taking it for a long time — folks who had been trying to get into the middle class had found that the ladders that allowed for upward mobility had started to disintegrate for a lot of people.
And so we understood that what we were fighting for was an America where everybody had a fair shot, everybody did their fair share; that responsibility was rewarded and that the game wasn’t fixed, that it wasn’t rigged, and that if people did the right thing and worked hard, as so many families who in Iowa and throughout the country — that they were going to be able to live out a piece of the American Dream.
We’ve still got a lot of work to do. But think about the change that was accomplished because of those caucuses four years ago. Because of those caucuses four years ago, we ended the war in Iraq, as promised, and our troops are now coming home.
Because of the work that so many of you did even before the caucuses four years ago, health care is a reality for millions of Americans, and seniors have seen the price of prescription drugs lowered, and there are 2 million young Americans who are able to keep their insurance even if they’re not getting it through a job. And we’re going to be able to say to every American out there who’s got a preexisting condition or has gotten a raw deal from an insurance company that they’re going to have some meaningful security, they’re not going to be bankrupt if they get sick.
Because of you and the work that you did four years ago there are millions of young people all across the country who are able to get more affordable student loans and Pell Grants. They’re able to afford college and apply themselves so that they can achieve a meaningful career that pays a good wage and provides good benefits.
Because of you we’ve been able to end the policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” so that every American who wants to serve this country that they love have that opportunity regardless of who they love.
So across the board, whether it’s doubling fuel efficiency standards on cars, or making sure that we’ve got a more effective system to provide job training for people who’ve lost their jobs — across the board, you have made a difference. But we all know we’ve got a lot more work that we have to do.
Although we’ve passed health care reform, we’ve passed Wall Street reform, there are a lot of forces that want to push back against us and want to undo some of those changes. And we’re battling millions of dollars of negative advertising and lobbyists and special interests who don’t want to see the change that you worked so hard to fully take root. And that’s why this time out is going to be in some ways more important than the first time out. Mitch is right. Change is never easy. The problems that we’ve been dealing with over the last three years, they didn’t happen overnight and we’re not going to fix them overnight. But we’ve been making steady progress as long as we can sustain it. And that’s what this is going to be all about.
So the only way we’re going to be able to do that is if all of you maintain the same determination, the same energy, the same drive, the same hopefulness, the same optimism about this wonderful country of ours as was on display four years ago. And I want you to know that because of you, because of all the memories I have of being in your living rooms or meeting you in a diner or seeing you over at a campaign office, I have never lost that same source of inspiration that drove me to embark on this journey in the first place. You guys inspire me every single day.
And I want us to remind each other that as much work as there may be out there before us, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish when determined citizens come together to make a difference.
So thank you, everybody. I could not be prouder. And, Mitch, I think we’ve got a couple of — time for a couple questions.
MR. STEWART: Yes, we do, sir. And the first question comes out of Coralville. Coralville, can you hear us?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Good evening, Mr. President. I’m Roseann, and I’m here as you can see, at a full house in the beautiful Performing Arts Center in Coralville, Iowa. How are you tonight?
THE PRESIDENT: I’m doing well. How are you?
Q Well, Mr. President, I think we’re having a little difficulty with audio, but I’m going to go ahead with my question.
Thinking about the caucuses four years ago, and as you reflected, you delivered your message of hope and change, but we didn’t know in 2008 the extent of the problems we were facing, and certainly progress has been a challenge. So I’m wondering, now, in 2012, if you still believe in hope and change for America. And I’m also wondering how your reelection campaign is going to help us better understand what we need to do, both as individual citizens and as a country, to achieve the fair society that you spoke about recently in Osawatomie, Kansas.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I want to make sure you can hear my answer. How’s the sound coming through now? In some ways, I’m actually more optimistic now than I was when I first ran, because we’ve already seen change take place. And part of what 2012 is about is both reminding the American people of how far we’ve traveled and the concrete effects that some of our work has had in terms of making sure that people have health insurance, or making sure that our troops are coming home, or making sure that young people are able to go to college. But part of it is also framing this larger debate about what kind of country are we going to leave for our children and our grandchildren.
There is no problem that we face that we cannot solve. But in order to solve it, we’ve got to make sure that everybody gets a fair shot, and that means that we’re investing in things like education, that we’re investing in basic science and technology so we’re making things again here in America and we’re revitalizing manufacturing and we’re not just buying from other countries but we’re selling to other countries, and we’re inventing things and encouraging entrepreneurship. It means that we’re rebuilding our infrastructure, our roads and our bridges, but also our high-speed rail lines and high-speed Internet access in places like rural Iowa, making sure that everybody who wants to reach a worldwide market is able to do so because they’ve got the connection to do it.
It also means that those things are going to have to be paid for in a fair way. And obviously a lot of the debate in Washington over the last several months and over the last year has revolved around how do we create a government that is lean and efficient and effective. And I’m proud of some of the tough decisions that we’ve been willing to make in terms of pruning back programs that don’t work. But if we’re going to make the investments that we need for our kids at the same time as we’re controlling our deficit, then there’s nothing wrong with saying to millionaires and billionaires that we’re going to let your tax cuts expire. You can afford it. You’ve done very well in this society. And I know they want (inaudible) in America, but they have to be asked. And the other party has a fundamentally different philosophy.
The same is true when it comes to the issue of fair play. We, through Wall Street reform, have rolled back policies that allowed credit card companies to jack up your interest rates without alerting you to it, or other financial practices that disadvantage consumers.
And so we’ve said, you know what, we’re going to have a consumer watchdog in place to look after you, to make sure that you’re not being cheated on credit cards or mortgages. Because if you want to compete in a free market, then you should compete on the basis of price and service and quality, not on the basis of somebody not being able to understand what they’re buying.
These basic principles are what’s going to be at stake in order for us to succeed. And I think that they’re principles that most Americans believe in, that everybody should act responsibly, everybody should do their part, and everybody should be able to travel as far as their work ethic and their dreams will carry them.
And right now all we’re getting from the other side — you guys have been hearing it a lot more than I have. I know it’s — you’ve been bombarded — I don’t know how you watch TV in Iowa these days — with a different theory that says, we’re going to cut taxes for the wealthiest among us, and roll back regulations on things like clean air and health care reform and Wall Street reform, and that somehow, automatically, that assures that everybody is able to succeed. I don’t believe that. And I don’t think any of the people in that auditorium do either.
So it’s going to be a big battle, though. I hope you guys are geared up. I’m excited.
MR. STEWART: Great. Thank you very much, Coralville. Next, we have Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids, are you with us? Can you hear us, Cedar Rapids? Hello, Cedar Rapids, can you hear us?
THE PRESIDENT: Hold on one second.
MR. STEWART: Yes, hold on one second.
THE PRESIDENT: I can’t hear you yet.
MR. STEWART: We’ll give it five more seconds. Folks in Cedar Rapids, can you hear us? (Applause.)
Q Good evening, Mr. President. This is Carol from Cedar Rapids, and I’m honored to be among your volunteers. On the cable talk shows there is talk about your administration not accomplishing anything. However, I am a breast cancer survivor and was a social worker for 33 years before retiring, and know firsthand what a great accomplishment the Affordable Care Act is among your other achievements. How do you respond to people who say you have not done enough?
THE PRESIDENT: I think the main message that we’re going to have in 2012 is that we’ve done a lot but we’ve got a lot more to do, and that’s why we need another four years to get it all done. But you just mentioned the Affordable Care Act. We know that somebody who’s had an illness like cancer, who’s a survivor, has trouble getting insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are not going to be able to ban people with preexisting conditions. That makes a direct impact on your life and your family’s life.
We know that there are 2 million young people who have insurance because of the Affordable Care Act who didn’t have it before. We know that seniors have seen discounts in their prescription drugs; they’re saving billions of dollars all across the country. We know that preventive care, like mammograms, are now available through your insurance and they can’t arbitrarily deny you coverage right when you need care.
So that’s just on health care. And it’s making an impact on people’s lives day to day. But here’s the thing. Frankly, not that many people watch cable TV. What they do is they listen to their friends, their neighbors, their co-workers. And that’s why what you guys are doing today at the caucus and what you will be doing every day from now until November makes such a difference. Because nobody is a better messenger for the kind of change we’re talking about than you. You can tell a story about the difference these policies make in your life in a way that any politician in Washington — including me — can’t do.
And one of the things that we learned four years ago was that when people at grassroots level are getting involved and they’re getting engaged, and they’re feeling empowered and they’re joining hands with each other — that’s a powerful force. It can’t be stopped. But, unfortunately, over the (inaudible) it’s not as focused and concentrated as an election campaign. And so the forces of big money and special interests and lobbyists, they all come to the fore and the pundits and the cable TV dominates the political conversation.
Well, you know what, fortunately in 2012 we’ve got a chance to respond. And I will put my money on you. I find you a lot more persuasive than anybody on cable TV, and that’s why I know we’re going to win.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
DURING VISIT WITH EASON FAMILY
12:25 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I just want to thank the Easons and Ms. Kirkpatrick for welcoming us. As some of you may be aware, just in terms of background, the Easons, who have been married for 42 years now — Mr. Eason is a former Marine and so served our country in the Korean War — were living in their home, were taken advantage by a mortgage broker, and as a consequence, ended up being $80,000 in debt. The repairs that had originally been promised to be made for a few thousands dollars were never completed, and they almost lost their home.
And thanks to Ms. Kirkpatrick’s organization and some timely intervention, they were able to stay in their home and prevent foreclosure. But it’s a good example of the kinds of trickery and abuse in the non-bank financial sector that we’re going to have to do something about. And we’re so glad that we’ve got somebody like Rich Cordray who’s willing to take this on and make sure that families like the Easons, who’ve done the right thing, who’ve been responsible, who’ve served their country, that they’re not taken advantage of and they’re able to live in security and dignity in their golden years.
So thank you so much for letting us be in your home, Mr. Eason and Mrs. Eason. Thank you.
MR. EASON: It’s an honor you being here.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we appreciate your service all the way around.
Now, he’s not mentioning he also used to be a boxer, so if you guys break anything in here you could be in trouble. (Laughter.)
President Obama Announces Recess Appointments to Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama announced today his intent to recess appoint four individuals to fill key administration posts that have been left vacant.
- · Richard Cordray, Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- · Sharon Block, Member, National Labor Relations Board
- · Terence F. Flynn, Member, National Labor Relations Board
- · Richard Griffin, Member, National Labor Relations Board
President Obama said, “The American people deserve to have qualified public servants fighting for them every day – whether it is to enforce new consumer protections or uphold the rights of working Americans. We can’t wait to act to strengthen the economy and restore security for our middle class and those trying to get in it, and that’s why I am proud to appoint these fine individuals to get to work for the American people.”
The President announced his intent to recess appoint the following individuals:
Richard Cordray, Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Richard Cordray is Chief of Enforcement at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Immediately prior, Cordray served as Attorney General of Ohio from January 2009 to January 2011. As Attorney General, Cordray recovered more than $2 billion for Ohio’s retirees, investors and business owners and took major steps to help protect its consumers from fraudulent foreclosures and financial predators. Prior to his tenure as Ohio’s Attorney General, Cordray spent two years as Ohio’s State Treasurer and four as the Treasurer of Franklin County, Ohio. In 2008, he received a Financial Services Cham pion award from the U.S. Small Business Administration and a Government Service Award from NeighborWorks America. In 2005, he was named “County Leader of the Year” by American City & County Magazine. Earlier in his career, Cordray was an adjunct professor at the Ohio State University College of Law (1989-2002), served as a State Representative for the 33rd Ohio House District (1991-1993), was the first Solicitor General in Ohio’s history (1993-1994), and was a sole practitioner and Of Counsel to Kirkland & Ellis (1995-2007). Cordray has argued seven cases before the United States Supreme Court, including by special appointment of both the Clinton and Bush Justice Departments. Cordray is a graduate of Michigan State University, Oxford University, and the University of Chicago Law School. He was Editor-in-Chief of the University of Chicago Law Review and later clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy.
Sharon Block, Member, National Labor Relations Board
Sharon Block is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor. Between 2006 and 2009, Ms. Block was Senior Labor and Employment Counsel for the Senate HELP Committee, where she worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Ms. Block previously served at the National Labor Relations Board as senior attorney to Chairman Robert Battista from 2003 to 2006 and as an attorney in the appellate court branch from 1996 to 2003. From 1994 to 1996, she was Assistant General Counsel at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and from 1991 to 1993, she was an associate at Steptoe & Johnson. She received a B.A. in History from Columbia University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center where she received the John F. Kennedy Labor Law Award.
Terence F. Flynn, Member, National Labor Relations Board
Terence F. Flynn is currently detailed to serve as Chief Counsel to NLRB Board Member Brian Hayes. Mr. Flynn was previously Chief Counsel to former NLRB Board Member Peter Schaumber, where he oversaw a variety of legal and policy issues in cases arising under the National Labor Relations Act. From 1996 to 2003, Mr. Flynn was Counsel in the Labor and Employment Group of Crowell & Moring, LLP, where he handled a wide range of labor and employment issues, including collective bargaining negotiations, litigation of unfair labor practices, defense of ERISA claims, and wage and hour disputes, among other matters. From 1992 to 1995, he was a litigation associate at the law firm David, Hager, Kuney & Krupin, where he counseled clients on federal, state, and local employment and wage hour laws, NLRB arbitrations, and other labor relations disputes. Mr. Flynn started his law career at the firm Reid & Priest, handling labor and immigration matters from 1990 to 1992. He holds a B.A. degree from University of Maryland, College Park and a J.D. from Washington & Lee University School of Law.
Richard Griffin, Member, National Labor Relations Board
Richard Griffin is the General Counsel for International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). He also serves on the board of directors for the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, a position he has held since 1994. Since 1983, he has held a number of leadership positions with IUOE from Assistant House Counsel to Associate General Counsel. From 1985 to 1994, Mr. Griffin served as a member of the board of trustees of the IUOE’s central pension fund. From 1981 to 1983, he served as a Counsel to NLRB Board Members. Mr. Griffin holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.
President Obama Signs Several New Bills Into Law Including The Belarus Democracy And Human Rights Act of 2011
On Tuesday, January 3, 2012, the President signed into law:
H.R. 515, the “Belarus Democracy and Human Rights Act of 2011,” which reauthorizes and amends the Belarus Democracy Act of 2004;
H.R. 789, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Little Ferry, New Jersey, as the Sergeant Matthew J. Fenton Post Office;
H.R. 1059, which extends for six years, through December 31, 2017, the authority of the Judiciary to redact personal and sensitive information in the financial disclosure reports of judicial officers and employees where release of the information could endanger them or their family members;
H.R. 1264, which designates the property between the United States Federal Courthouse and the Ed Jones Building in Jackson, Tennessee, as the M.D. Anderson Plaza and authorizes the placement of a historical/identification marker on the grounds recognizing the achievements and philanthropy of M.D. Anderson;
H.R. 1801, the “Risk-Based Security Screening for Members of the Armed Forces Act,” which requires the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration to develop and implement a plan to provide expedited security screening services for members of the Armed Forces;
H.R. 1892, the “Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012,” which authorizes FY 2012 appropriations for U.S. intelligence-related activities and establishes and amends various intelligence-related authorities;
H.R. 2056, which requires the Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to conduct a comprehensive study on the impact of the failure of insured depository institutions and the Government Accountability Office to carry out a study on the causes of high levels of bank failures;
H.R. 2422, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Staten Island, New York, as the Sergeant Angel Mendez Post Office; and
H.R. 2845, the “Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011,” which doubles the maximum civil penalties for violations of Federal pipeline safety laws; authorizes the Transportation Department to issue various regulations related to leak prevention and detection; and reauthorizes various programs of the Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.