WASHINGTON New Senator Elizabeth Warren joined Democrat colleagues on the Senate Banking Committee this afternoon to urge their Republican colleagues to lift a block on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and allow the Senate to at least vote on the nomination of current CFPB Director Richard Cordray for a full five-year term.
All 43 Republican senators have promised to oppose the CFPB appointment until President Obama gives in to their demands to water-down control of the agency to a five-person board and to give Congress direct control over its funding. That means the Republicans have enough votes to filibuster, or block, the CFPB nomination.
Warren, widely created with inventing the new consumer protection agency, said at a news conference this afternoon with Democrats Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, said there was a very active process when the Senate negotiated the Dodd-Frank Act and created the new consumer agency. "The notion that a minority can hold up the laws of the United States by using the filibuster on an appointment is fundamentally wrong," said Warren.
Reed charged the Republicans’ goal in blocking the Cordray nomination is to water-down the new regulator. "This is designed to take away its independent status, taking away other aspects of the agency to basically eviscerate it so it won't operate,” he said.
Brown said the Republicans are blocking the CFPB appointment because they don’t want oversight of Wall Street.
Warren only decided to run for Senate last year after Senate Republicans told President Obama they would not confirm her to be director of the new agency, which she helped to create. The Republicans promised to filibuster, or block, hers or anyone’s nomination to head the CFPB until the President agreed to give them more powers over the new agency.
The Republicans’ opposition made it impossible for President Obama to win confirmation for Cordray, prompting the President to seat Cordray last year as an abbreviated “recess” appointment when the Senate was supposedly out of session. However, a recent court decision has put even Cordray’s abbreviated status in question, as well as a host of new regulations over mortgages and credit cards enacted by the new agency under his leadership.
Warren, who had envisioned the idea of a consumer financial agency for several years, was sorely disappointment when after she organized the new agency Republicans in the Senate made it clear they would not vote to confirm her to be its first director. So she decided to return to Massachusetts, where she ended up beating one of the Republicans, Scott Brown, and was elected to the Senate. She now sits on the Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over the new consumer agency she created.
Cordray is scheduled to appear tomorrow before some of the CFPB's Republican critics during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on the progress of the Dodd-Frank Act.