Both Parties Seek Edge as Nominee Is Blocked

December 9, 2011
Wall Street Journal P. A5
consumer financial protection bureau news

U.S. Senate Republicans blocked White House nominee Richard Cordray, who was selected to serve as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The vote was 53-to-45 in favor of Cordray's nomination, but short of the 60 votes necessary to force consideration of his nomination. Republicans have vowed to block any nominee until the bureau is modified, while Democrats say that the filibuster merely demonstrates Republicans political posturing at the expense of consumers. The White House could consider a recess appointment for the CFPB, though it is unclear if that move is technically possible. Republicans want the CFPB to be led by a board of directors rather than a single director, among other changes. Without a director, the agency cannot regulate nonbank financial firms, even though it can enforce current consumer protections. Democrats are hopeful that the public support for improved consumer protections will work against Republicans who opposed Cordray's nomination. Republicans, on the other hand, are hopeful that their vote against the nominee will demonstrate the party's willingness to dial back government bureaucracy. The White House had issued a media blitz in Maine, Indiana, Nevada, and Tennessee seeking the support of Republican senators that the administration thought were most likely to support Cordray, but the efforts did little to change those senators' votes. U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) did vote with Democrats in favor of Cordray, keeping his word, while U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) did not vote either way, merely voting "present."
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