The Senate voted Thursday not to confirm Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In a 53-45 vote, Senate said no to his confirmation, which has been pending for months since President Obama nominated him in July.
“The question should be whether Mr. Cordray is qualified for the job,” said Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), who chairs the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. “I believe Mr. Cordray is an outstanding candidate.”
Senators have sparred over the nomination as Republican members have vowed to block any nomination until there are structural changes to the leadership of the bureau. Bills introduced in early 2011 urged the administration to change the leadership of the bureau from a single director to a bipartisan committee. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders and others have urged the steadfast Republicans to stop blocking the process. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stressed the importance of confirming a director this week in a Treasury blog post.
“The longer we wait to confirm a director, the more we’re leaving millions of Americans who aren’t doing business with banks vulnerable to the kind of predation and abuse that caused so much damage in this crisis,” Geithner said. “That’s not something we find acceptable.”
Prior to the Senate vote Thursday, Democrats shared a similar sentiment.
“Stop playing games,” said Democratic Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in statements before the vote.
A 60-vote majority was required in order to move forward in the confirmation of Cordray, who currently serves as the CFPB’s director of enforcement. Now the decision remains pending, with some speculating that the decision will come down to a recess appointment. Just two of the 47 Republican senators did not vote to block Cordray’s confirmation.
“I am disappointed the Senate did not vote to end debate on Richard Cordray’s nomination to be Director of the CFPB,” said Raj Date, special advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, following the vote. “I have the great privilege of working with Rich every day. He’s an exceptional leader and a great public servant.
“The CFPB is already hard at work, helping to fix broken consumer financial markets,” Date said. “But without a director, we are only able to supervise banks, not any of the nonbank companies that were responsible for many of the most problematic products and practices leading up to the financial crisis.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker