Richard Cordray has been confirmed as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), after over two-plus years of infighting between Republicans and Democrats. Numbers-wise, Cordray’s confirmation is something of a landslide (a Senate vote of 66-34), though he’s been doing the job for over two years, the CFPB is still mired in controversy. Cordray was confirmed just one day shy of the second anniversary of his nomination by President Obama. This confirmation is also a major win for House Democrats who have been lobbying for Cordray’s official confirmation for years.
Two days ago, Housing Wire reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was attempting to block all Republican filibuster attempts to secure Cordray’s official seating as head of the CFPB. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) stated, "This is a win for the American people, and Majority Leader Reid should be commended for taking a principled stand in support of consumer protection. Rich Cordray is finally getting the up-or-down vote he deserves. Rich has proven to be effective leader and I have no doubt he will now be confirmed."
Cordray is a somewhat controversial nominee due to 43 Republicans demanding structural changes to the CFPB before they can nominate any individual to head the organization. Republicans could have denied Democrats the 60 votes needed to begin debate on a CFPB nominee. Republicans have cited Obama’s granting of a recess as a violation of recess appointments, as well.
“The Senate's confirmation of Richard Cordray as director of the CFPB provides certainty for those affected by the Bureau's work,” said Michelle Korsmo, CEO of the American Land Title Association (ALTA).
Back in March, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who helped forge the CFPB, expressed concern over lack of bipartisan support. "I see nothing here but a filibuster threat against Director Cordray as an attempt to weaken the consumer agency," Warren said to Huffington Post. "I think the delay in getting him confirmed is bad for consumers, it's bad for small banks, bad for credit unions, for anyone trying to offer an honest product in an honest market."
Cordray’s confirmation includes a five-year term. His term as head of the CFPB would stifle potential Republican interference with Dodd-Frank Act Reform, as Republicans have been seeking Dodd-Frank reform since its inception in 2010.
Democrats have more or less celebrated the formation of the CFPB, though there has been a continued expression of concern over potential Republican blocking of Cordray’s appointment. “I’m thrilled that we’re going to finally confirm him, it looks like,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) told Politico. “It’s good news, and he’s already made a difference at the agency and will continue to.”
“The CFPB is an important agency that was created to protect consumers across the United States. Given the reach and influence this agency has on both businesses and consumers, it is important that we have stability and consistency in its highest ranks," said David H. Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). "Under Richard Cordray’s leadership, we have found the CFPB to be transparent and willing to listen to our concerns. We have not always agreed on the final outcome of CFPB rulemakings, and there remain a number of items related to the mortgage process that we will be working to address, but we are confident that we can make progress toward finding solutions regarding these issues.”