Fifty-four Senate Democrats and Independents issued a letter to the president last week defending the ""Consumer Financial Protection Bureau"":http://www.consumerfinance.gov/ (CFPB) and pledging to support the re-appointment of current director Richard Cordray.[IMAGE]
Cordray's initial appointment to head the agency was mired in controversy: Faced with the prospect of a Republican filibuster that would stop Cordray's appointment, President Obama installed the director early last year as a ""recess appointment""--a move that drew criticism and debate over whether the Senate was actually in a recess at the time.
Obama announced last month his intent to renominate Cordray for the position, reigniting criticism and the threat of another filibuster. Adding to the controversy is a ""recent appeals court ruling"":https://themreport.com/articles/cfpb-leadership-uncertain-as-appeals-court-invalidates-recess-appointments-2013-01-25 invalidating the appointments of several National Labor Relations Board members who were appointed at the same time as the CFPB leader.
In their letter, Cordray's Senate supporters decried the opposition's efforts as an attempt to ""weaken the CFPB through structural changes"" from ""a minority of Senators [who] do not support the existence of the agency.""
""[I]t is clear from their public comments that many of our Senate colleagues on the other side of the aisle who oppose his nomination--and even many representatives of the financial services industry who were originally skeptical of his appointment--agree that he is well qualified and has prudently exercised the authorities of the CFPB,"" the letter reads.
The letter adds that ""[a]ttempts to force relitigation of issues related to CFPB's funding and organization by filibustering Director Cordray's renomination ... are irresponsible and inconsistent with our democratic values.""
The Democrats' letter is reminiscent of a similar message sent to the president from Senate Republicans in May last year. Signers of that letter vowed not to consider any nominee for director until greater checks and balances could be put in place.
The issue of Cordray's nomination comes at a pivotal time for CFPB, which recently unveiled a series of new rules and guidelines designed to reform housing finance and protect consumers.
Senators ""Jack Reed"":http://www.reed.senate.gov/ (D-Rhode Island), ""Sherrod Brown"":http://www.brown.senate.gov/ (D-Ohio), and ""Elizabeth Warren"":http://www.warren.senate.gov/index.cfm (D-Massachusetts) took the issue a step further, calling on Senate Republicans to allow an up or down vote for the appointment.
""After two years, it is time for the Senate to give Rich Cordray a vote--up or down--and remove the uncertainty that is costly to families, to community banks and credit unions, and to everyone in financial services,"" said Warren, the original architect who worked to create the consumer agency.
According to a blog on ""_The Hill_"":http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/banking-financial-institutions/283211-senate-dems-hold-the-line-on-consumer-bureau, the letter was signed by all Democratic senators except ""Mark Pryor"":http://www.pryor.senate.gov/public/ (D-Arkansas). The two Independents who signed were ""Angus King"":http://www.king.senate.gov/index.cfm (Maine) and ""Bernie Sanders"":http://www.sanders.senate.gov/ (Vermont).