A week before Congress returns to Washington, President Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray as the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is expanding the partisan divide on Capitol Hill.
Already, aides to Republican conferees set to hash out a deal on the payroll tax cut are warning that there is little trust in whatever the Democrats or Obama promise as a solution.
"Those appointments really spoiled the mood even more up here," said a top Senate GOP aide. "He's out there beating us up, running against Congress, and he thinks we'll work with him at the same time? I just don't know how that's going to happen," added the aide. [Recess Showdown in Congress Over Richard Cordray?]
What's more troubling is the growing concerns that heated partisan divide, fueled by the Cordray appointment, will spill over into the upcoming debate to again raise the debt ceiling. Both are critical issues to running the government, but the upcoming election could trip up the normal process.[See the latest political cartoons.]
While there is feeling among some in the GOP that Obama has cornered them on the payroll tax cut and debt ceiling increase, they are planning to crow about how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell squeezed a deadline on the Keystone XL pipeline into the payroll tax deal. Some view it as a major jobs creator that the president sidestepped out of concerns that politically-loyal environmentalists would flee his reelection effort. The GOP is eager to force Obama's hand on the issue, which they hope to use with voters to show that they are pro-jobs and favor local energy development.