Consumer-Bureau Nominee on Hot Seat

September 6, 2011
Wall Street Journal P. A6
consumer financial protection bureau news

President Barack Obama's nominee, Richard Cordray, to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will testify at a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on Sept. 6. He is expected to allay lawmakers fears that as head of the agency he would be quick to use litigation as an enforcement tool. In a prepared statement, Cordray noted, "I know from my own experience that lawsuits can be a very slow, wasteful, and needlessly acrimonious way to resolve a problem." Rather than discuss Cordray's background during the hearing, some expect lawmakers to focus primarily on the structure of the agency, which Republicans say has too much unchecked power. Forty-four Senate Republicans signed a pledge that said they would oppose any nominee to the CFPB unless the administration agreed to modify its structure. A U.S. Senate Banking Committee Senior Republican Richard Shelby (Ala.) spokesperson says, "Opposition to or support of Mr. Cordray's nomination will become relevant as soon as the president agrees to make the structural changes we've requested." Democrats have said they would oppose any changes to the CFPB, which should be politically independent. Cordray, meanwhile, has received some support from the business community, with letters of support issued by executives and leaders of the Ohio Bankers League, American Electric Power, and Limited Brands. The White House hopes to drum up support for the nominee through a series of meetings between Cordray and all 22 members of the Senate committee.
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