Obama rips GOP block of consumer advocate

Dec. 8, 2011 at 1:32 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A terse President Obama ripped Senate Republicans' blocking confirmation the man Obama picked to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

"We have nominated somebody, Richard Cordray ... who everybody says is highly qualified," Obama said during a brief news conference at the White House. "This morning, Senate Republicans blocked his nomination, refusing to let the Senate even go forward with an up-or-down vote on Mr. Cordray. This makes absolutely no sense."

Richard Cordray was the Ohio attorney general when Obama tapped him to lead the new consumer protection bureau, part of a financial reform package passed by Congress and signed into law by Obama last year.

The Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to proceed with Cordray's confirmation vote. Fifty-three senators voted to advance the confirmation process, while 45 senators, all Republicans, voted against it.

Congress, he said, apparently forgot "we got [into] the financial mess we did [because] regulators weren't doing their jobs."

He told Senate Republicans he would not allow "politics as usual stand in the way of American consumers being protected against unscrupulous" financial practitioners.

Asked whether he'd consider a recess appointment of Cordray, Obama said, "I won't take any options off table."

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said in a statement Cordray's nomination deserved an up-or-down vote.

"Unbelievably, the big banks and their backers in Congress have done all they can to hamstring this bureau and prevent it from having the tools and leadership necessary to be an effective consumer watchdog," Durbin said.

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