Richard Cordray
Ohio Attorney general Richard Cordray. Image: ProgressiveOhio/Flickr/CC BY

Senate Republicans filibustered Thursday to block the nomination of Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Although there were more votes for the confirmation than against it, the requisite 60 was not obtained to break a filibuster.

Halted before final vote

Fifty-three senators voted to approve the nomination. Forty-five voted against it. Only one Republican senator, Scott Brown, voted for Cordray’s approval. The radical call for filibuster has effectively halted Cordray’s appointment before it went to final vote.

President chimes in

President Obama said he would not rule out a recess appointment because all other options seem to have been exhausted. The president said in a press briefing:

“We have nominated somebody, Richard Cordray … who everybody says is highly qualified. 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.”

An unprecedented move

No minority party in the history of the Senate has ever used filibuster to block an up-or-down vote to effectively render an agency inoperable.

Protecting Wall Street, Dems say

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez said:

“Cordray and consumer protection are being blocked simply because Republicans want to protect Wall Street.”

GOP refuses to budge

Senate Republicans said that they will continue to block Obama’s choices as head until he agrees to fundamental changes in the agency. They want a board of directors to control the agency rather than a single director, as well as more Congressional oversight of the agencies activities.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said:

“The president knew about these concerns months ago and he chose to dismiss them. And now he’s suddenly making a push to confirm his nominee because it fits into some picture he wants to paint about who the good guys are and who the bad guys are here in Washington.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The CFPB was established as as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act. It was created in response to the economic crash in an effort to reign in the financial sector and mandate more transparency in its dealing.

The agency officially opened its doors in July, but has been stymied in most of its efforts by the bi-partisan deadlock. As it stands, the agency can oversee existing bank regulations but cannot issue new rules to regulate other financial entities without an acting director.

Raj Date, a special adviser for the CFPB, said:

“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.”


Washington Post:

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