Consumer-Bureau Nominee on Hot Seat
Wall Street Journal
September 6, 2011
Randall, Maya Jackson; McGrane, Victoria
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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