Even though the Dodd-Frank financial reform law was signed more than a year and a half ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which that law created, is still without a director. Republicans have been filibustering President Obama’s nominee for the position, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, in an attempt to get Congress to gut the agency’s powers.
Cordray is extremely qualified for the position, yet the GOP is holding his nomination hostage because they disagree with the entire idea of the CFPB, preferring, as they said during the debate over Dodd-Frank, that bank profits take precedence over consumer protection. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has even said that the GOP won’t confirm any nominee, no matter who it is or what his/her qualifications are, until the Bureau’s structure is changed.
Despite all that, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) today charged the administration with playing “political games” when it comes to the nomination, adding that he thinks people across the nation want to see the consumer watchdog’s powers watered down:
I don’t know whether you’re enjoying being part of a political game that’s taking place regarding this, but I would just say that, look, some just basic balances, checks and balances, with [the CFPB] I think would cause the logjam that’s taking place on this to really be broken up. And I’m sort of surprised that y’all continue to be a part of this political game that’s taking place, but I do hope at some point in time we’ll be able to have a meeting of minds and just a simple kind of thing that most people in Tennessee and across our country would like to see, and that is some accountability.
Watch it here (starting at 1:37:40).
The gall of a Republican senator calling out the administration for playing political games when the GOP has been blocking the CFPB director’s nomination for months is quite stunning. That they’ve been blocking Cordray in order to gut the agency’s ability to do its job is even worse.
Fortunately, there seem to be some cracks forming in the GOP’s facade, as Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) has said that he will vote to confirm Cordray’s nomination when it hits the Senate floor this week. As ThinkProgress Justice editor Ian Millhiser noted today, if the GOP continues to block Cordray’s nomination, Obama can break out the Roosevelt precedent to let Cordray start doing his job.