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Monday, February 4, 2013

Senators to Again Block Cordray Nomination Absent Structural Changes

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and 42 other Republican senators on Friday told President Obama that they’ll continue to block the confirmation of any nominee for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director until the bureau’s structure is reformed.

“As presently organized, the CFPB is insulated from congressional oversight of its actions and its budget. Far too much power is vested in the sole CFPB director without any meaningful checks and balances,” the senators said in a letter.

The letter is similar to one 44 GOP senators sent the president in May 2011 shortly before he nominated Richard Cordray to be the bureau’s first director.

They again urged the adoption of reforms that would replace the bureau’s director with a board; subject the agency to the congressional appropriations process; and give banking regulators the authority to override CFPB regulations that could cause bank failures.

Obama made Cordray the CFPB director through a recess appointment on Jan. 4, 2012, after GOP senators had threatened for months to block his confirmation if those reforms weren’t made. Two weeks ago, on Jan. 24, the president said he would re-nominate Cordray to continue as CFPB director.

The next day, however, a federal appeals court ruled that similar recess appointments the president made to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional, casting doubt on the validity of Cordray’s appointment and giving GOP senators added leverage to push their demands for CFPB structural changes.

Read Friday's letter.
Read the May 2011 letter.