The following post is from Katie Weatherford at the Center For Effective Government
On July 16, the Senate voted 66-34 to confirm Richard Cordray to serve as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB was established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) to put in place financial rules that protect Americans from exploitative practices of financial institutions.
President Obama initially nominated Cordray to the position in July 2011, but gridlock in the Senate blocked the nomination from moving to the floor for a vote. After months of delay, in January 2012, Obama invoked his power to issue a recess appointment and placed Cordray at the head of the CFPB. Had the Senate not voted to confirm Cordray, his appointment would have expired in January 2014.
Senate Republicans held up the confirmation because they dislike that the CFPB has only a single director and that its appropriations are controlled by the Federal Reserve. They would prefer a multi-member commission and congressional control over the agency’s appropriations, which would make it more difficult for the agency to move forward with new financial protections and also make it easier for Congress to defund the agency so that it cannot operate independently or effectively.
Over the past two years, the Center for Effective Government and other organizations have urged members of the public to ask the Senate to confirm Cordray so that the CFPB can move forward with new rules needed to fill the regulatory gaps responsible for the worst U.S. financial collapse since the Great Depression.
On Tuesday, the Senate finally chose to act. Cordray’s confirmation, which happened just days ahead of the third anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act (July 21), marks a victory not only for financial reform advocates, but for all Americans. Now the CFPB can begin putting in place further safeguards that will help secure a stronger, more stable, and fairer financial system.