WASHINGTON Several senators are working behind the scenes to hammer out a compromise on the nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as a determined block of Republican senators continues to stymie the nomination.
Two Republican senators—the only two Republicans not to sign a letter to President Obama opposing the nomination—are negotiating with Democrat counterparts on the Senate Banking Committee to forge a comprise on the nomination, which would confirm temporary Director Richard Cordray to a full five-year term ahead of the fledgling consumer agency.
The uncertainty over the CFPB nomination, even as a recent court decision threatens Cordray’s recess appointment to the job last year, has potentially jeopardized new rules enacted recently by the consumer agency on mortgages and credit cards.
The Republicans are demanding that President Obama and Senate Democrats agree to change the structure of the CFPB to be headed by a five-person board instead of a single director and to give Congress direct control over the agency’s budget, which is now funded through the Federal Reserve. Forty-three Republican senators, enough to block a vote on the nomination, told President Obama in the letter they will not vote on any nominee to head the CFPB until he agrees to their changes.
Republicans Rob Portman of Ohio Bob Corker of Tennessee--neither of who signed the letter to Obama opposing the CFPB nomination--are negotiating a compromise deal, Capitol Hill sources told the Credit Union Journal today. The Democrats have apparently agreed to a board, instead of a single director, to head the CFPB, but the White House will not agree to relinquish the purse strings to Congress, according to the sources.
Portman called on Cordray himself to support the changes sought by his Republican colleagues. "As a nominee to lead an independent agency, you have an opportunity to stake out a reasonable position on these proposals independent of the White House," Portman wrote in a letter to Cordray Friday. "Now is the time to exercise that independence and lend your support to these commonsense reforms to make the Bureau more effective and accountable to the American people, so that the Senate can find a path forward on your nomination."