WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs approved Tuesday Richard Cordray’s nomination as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The committee also approved by an overwhelming majority (21-1) President Barack Obama’s appointment of former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Cordray’s nomination to continue his five-year term as director of the bureau was approved in a 12-10 party line vote. In a statement following the vote, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D–South Dakota) stuck with his stance in favor of keeping Cordray in the position. Last week, Johnson commended Cordray’s work with the CFPB, first as chief of enforcement and later as director beginning in January 2012. He also recognized Cordray’s long history of public service.

“He has completed many of the rules required by Wall Street Reform, including a well-received final QM rule. He listens and has crafted strong rules that take into account all sides of an issue. He has laid the groundwork for nonbank regulation,” Johnson stated. “He has brought to light the financial challenges faced by students, elderly Americans, servicemembers and their families. He has taken important enforcement actions against banks that took advantage of customers. So I ask my colleagues, what more can Richard Cordray do to deserve an up-or-down vote? I hope we can finally put aside politics and move forward with Richard Cordray’s confirmation.”

In the March 19 vote, Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) shared his party’s concerns with continuing to allow Cordray to lead the bureau. “The issue with his nomination is a broader debate over the structural creation of a new federal department. Some are calling our need for structural changes as unnecessary. However, this is not the case,” he said, noting a nearly $100 million discrepancy in what the CFPB reported to have spent last year on contracts and services under Cordray’s watch. “This greatly concerns me. Where is the transparency? Where is the accountability?”

Cordray’s nomination awaits final approval from the full Senate.