After the Senate brokered their deal this morning wherein Majority Leader Harry Reid would refrain from triggering the “nuclear option” of altering Senate procedure to limit minority rights, and Republicans would for the most part drop their stalled-out opposition to a number of President Obama’s nominees for executive-branch posts, the Senate has confirmed (66-34) Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial “Protection” Bureau, a full year and a half after his notorious “recess” appointment:
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed a director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ending a nearly two-year standoff in Congress and putting the new agency on sounder legal footing.
Democrats overcame long-held Republican objections to approve Richard Cordray’s nomination to head the bureau, which was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. …
“There is no doubt that the consumer agency will survive beyond the crib,” Senator Elizabeth Warren told reporters earlier on Tuesday. Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, set up the consumer bureau before running for the Senate last year.
The consumer bureau, which opened in 2011 and oversees mortgages, credit cards and other consumer-oriented financial products, had been a source of controversy since its creation.
I put “recess” in quotations, of course, because the Senate wasn’t actually in recess when the president went ahead and appointed Cordray anyway; and I always feel that it’s appropriate to put the “Protection” in the CFPB in quotations, because, well… shudder.
Part of the the Republicans’ longstanding reluctance over Cordray’s confirmation stemmed from the fact that, in full-fledged practice, the CFPB is probably going to end up as little better than the finance-equivalent of the wildly overzealous and highly partisan EPA, except on steroids, with even less transparency and even more ability to run roughshod over a wide range of financial markets.
Dodd-Frank very stealthily bestowed the CFBP with a rather terrifyingly outsized amount of authority, and Republicans were hoping they could hold out for annual appropriations from Congress and a bipartisan board rather than the Federal Reserve funding and single director with which we’re currently saddled. Now that that’s over, though, let the economically damaging big-government overreach and virtual immunity from outside oversight proceed apace!
Anyhow. President Obama was most pleased about the Senate’s ability to reach a deal and avoid the snows of nuclear winter covering this land, oh yes, most pleased indeed:
“I’m pleased that the Senate took action today to move forward on the nominees who have waited far too long for a vote,” Obama said. “Over the last two years, I’ve nominated leaders to fill important positions required to do the work of the American people, only to have those positions remain unfilled – not because the nominees were somehow unqualified, but for purely political reasons.” …
“I want to thank the Senators from both parties – including Leader Reid, Leader McConnell and Senator McCain – who have worked together to find a path forward and give these nominees the votes they deserve,” Obama continued. “In the weeks ahead, I hope the Congress will build on this spirit of cooperation to advance other urgent middle-class priorities, including the need to take action to pass commonsense immigration reform and keep interest rates on student loans low for families trying to afford a higher education.”