WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Tuesday evening confirmed the appointment of Richard Cordray, who will now resume his role as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
This announcement, which comes exactly two years this week after President Barack Obama’s initial appointment of Cordray, follows an unsuccessful push from Republicans to elect a bi-partisan board of directors for heightened transparency and accountability from the bureau. The directorial role was confirmed in a 66 to 34 vote on Tuesday evening.
President Obama offered comments regarding Cordray’s confirmation during a press conference Wednesday.
“Four years ago as we were working on restoring the economy and dealing with the immediate crisis, we also wanted to figure out how do we set new rules for the road to make sure that a few bad apples in the financial sector couldn’t break the law or cheat consumers, or put the entire economy at risk,” the president said, adding that his his intent with the creation of the CFPB was “to get a consumer watchdog on the job to look out for the interests of everyday Americans.
“[Cordray] was eminently qualified. He had the support of Democrats and Republicans from across the country. A majority of state attorneys general from both parties — Rich’s former colleagues — called on him to be confirmed. And for two years, Republicans in the Senate refused to give Rich a simple yes or no vote,” Obama said, claiming lawmakers’ hesitation was not directed at Cordray, but rather the single-director structure. “Without a CFPB director in place, the CFPB would have been severely hampered.”
In a letter dated Feb. 1, Senate Republicans penned a letter to the president addressing concerns over the bureau’s transparency and accountability, saying the single-structure director, regardless of its leader’s political party, creates a “lack of congressional oversight of the agency and the lack of normal, democratic checks on its sole director, who would wield nearly unprecedented powers.”
Following the Senate’s decision this week, Cordray released a statement: “I am honored to be confirmed by the Senate as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For nearly two years, we have been focused on making consumer finance markets work better for the American people. Today’s action brings added certainty to the industries we oversee and reinforces our responsibility to stand on the side of consumers and see that they are treated fairly in the financial marketplace. We will continue our essential work and each one of us, including myself, is grateful for the opportunity to serve our country in this important way.”
- Stephanie Forshee