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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