President Obama promised to continue to fight for Richard Cordray to be the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau despite Thursday’s successful effort by Republicans to block the nomination.
Obama said at the White House shortly after the Senate vote that there is no reason Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, shouldn’t be confirmed.
The CFPB began operations this summer. It was created by the Dodd-Frank Act following the financial meltdown that began in 2008.
“This was a law that was passed by Congress that I signed into law that is designed solely to protect American consumers,” the president said. “Why wouldn't we want to have somebody just to make sure that people are being treated fairly?”
Obama didn’t say what the next steps would be. One option might be a recess appointment, in which he appoints Cordray when Congress is next in recess. This would allow him to serve until the end of next year.
However, Republicans can put up a procedural roadblock to having Congress recess during the holidays and require both chambers to meet in pro forma session to prevent any recess appointment from taking place.
Senate Republicans voted almost unanimously to block the nomination because they want the bureau to be governed by a five-member board rather than by a single director. The vote was 53-45 but 60 were needed.
The sole GOP vote for Cordray came from Sen. Scott Brown, the Massachusetts Republican expected to be in a tight re-election race with CFPB creator and Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, the current frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.
Raj Date, whose title is Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the CFPB, has been serving as its interim director.