Senate GOP blocks Obama's nominee to CFPB

Dec. 8, 2011 at 4:51 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Senate Republicans voted Thursday to block the the confirmation of Richard Cordray to lead the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Prior to the vote, Republicans said they would not confirm a director for the CFPB until President Barack Obama establishes greater "transparency and accountability" measures at the financial watchdog agency, The Hill reported.

"We're not going to let the president put another unelected czar in place, unaccountable to the American people," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., was the only Republican to vote in favor of Cordray.

"I disagree with Republicans on this issue," Brown said in a statement to The Hill. "Mr. Cordray deserves an up or down vote, and I look forward to supporting his nomination. Having a leader at the helm is critical at a time when the agency is getting up and running. The unfortunate truth is that there are still bad actors in the financial system who will take advantage of vulnerable people in our society."

However, Democrats and the White House claim Republicans were filibustering Cordray, a qualified candidate for the position, to stop the implementation of the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform act, the law responsible for creating the CFPB.

"For the first time in Senate history, Republicans are poised to block a qualified nominee solely because they don't like the federal agency he will lead," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said.

"We already had this debate," echoed Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. "During consideration of Dodd-Frank last year, there were attempts to weaken the CFPB, and those attempts were defeated." 

"Richard Cordray is competent, qualified, and an honorable public servant and his nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 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," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in a statement Thursday.

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