Senate Votes to Confirm Cordray as CFPB Director [Update]

After a long, drawn-out battle over the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as well as the man who currently sits in the agency’s top post, the Senate voted today to confirm Richard Cordray as director of the 2-year-old agency.

The majority vote came following an agreement announced earlier Tuesday that would end a months-long debate between republicans and democrats over the agency’s power, and could signal compromise ahead on other issues, according to reports.

“The vote is significant… because it cools tensions between Republicans and Democrats,” NPR reported following a 71-29 Senate cloture vote, meaning the nomination overcomes the 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster.

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The process by which the Senate came to terms is significant, the Washington Post writes, following a long, closed-door meeting among its members.

“The Senate’s reported readiness to take unprecedented steps to change the chamber’s rules governing presidential appointees came after nearly all 100 senators spent more than three hours late Monday huddled in a rare bipartisan, closed-door caucus,” the Washington Post reports.

“I hope that everyone learned the lesson last night, that it sure helps to sit down and talk to each other,” said Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV). “It was a very, very good meeting….So I think we have a way forward that will be good for everyone…. It is a compromise, and I think we get what we want and they [Republicans] get what they want. Not a bad deal.”

Cordray’s nomination has been opposed by Republicans, who initially contested the leadership structure of the bureau, and later called into question the the recess appointment of Cordray by President Obama. Opposition to the CFPB appointment took cues from a National Labor Relations Board appointment also made during recess, which became the subject of lawsuits and widespread controversy.

“I am honored to be confirmed by the Senate as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” Cordray said in a statement. “For nearly two years, we have been focused on making consumer finance markets work better for the American people. Today’s action brings added certainty to the industries we oversee and reinforces our responsibility to stand on the side of consumers and see that they are treated fairly in the financial marketplace.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker