News / USA

Obama Presses Senate to Approve Financial Protection Chief

Richard Cordray, nominated to head a new consumer financial protection bureau (file photo)
Richard Cordray, nominated to head a new consumer financial protection bureau (file photo)

President Barack Obama is stepping up pressure on the U.S. Senate to approve his nominee to head a new consumer financial protection bureau.  Congressional Republicans vow to block the nomination unless Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats agree to changes in how the new bureau is organized and funded.

Nominated in July, Richard Cordray is a former Ohio attorney general with a record as a tough consumer advocate and aggressive prosecutor of financial fraud.

President Obama selected him to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, when a previous nominee ran into fierce political opposition from Republicans.

But Cordray's nomination has run into the same hurdle.  Forty-five Republicans say they will vote against him unless changes are made to reduce what they call "excessive powers" vested in the new bureau.

Senate Minority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell asserted this week that President Obama had done nothing to address "legitimate" Republican concerns and called for a "drastic overhaul" of the bureau.

"The CFPB in its current form cannot stand," said McConnel. "In its current form, the CFPB could easily be used for political purposes at the expense of access to credit, job creation, economic growth and financial stability."

A day before an expected Senate vote on Cordray's nomination, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday called on Republicans to end what he called "obstructionist behavior."

Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin said that without a director, the consumer bureau cannot adequately supervise and enforce rules for institutions in the non-banking financial services, where "some of the most harmful, deceptive and unfair and predatory lending practices" have occurred.

"Their [the Republican] position continues to leave the door wide open for the same abuses that occurred prior to, and were an importance cause of, the [2008] financial crisis that we are still feeling the effects of," said Wolin.

Republicans want the consumer bureau to be run by a board rather than a single director.  They also want the new bureau's budget, which is estimated at about $500 million, to have closer congressional scrutiny.

Wolin said the bureau already operates with a strict funding cap and under an "unprecedented" number of accountability and oversight provisions.   

President Obama says he will resist efforts in Congress to undermine a major financial system reform law he signed last year, of which consumer protection is a part.  He spoke about Cordray's nomination and Republican opposition in a major speech in Kansas this week.

"Consumers deserve to have someone whose job it is to look out for them," said President Obama. "And I intend to make sure they do."

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has urged an end to what it calls "gridlock" in the Senate blocking Cordray's confirmation, echoing the administration position that the bureau cannot rein in financial practices that contributed to the U.S. economic downturn.

The White House also pointed to support for Cordray by 37 state attorneys general.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, a Republican, drew a distinction between what he called the "policy battle" being waged by Republican lawmakers and the need to move forward with effective consumer financial protections.

"This is a rule of law issue and we need to go forward," said Shurtleff. "It's the law.  If my party wants to change the law, if they get into power and are able to do that, fine.  But in the meantime, we have a job to do."

Asked whether President Obama would use his authority to make what is called a "recess appointment" to put Cordray in place at the consumer bureau after the Senate adjourns, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he did not want to get ahead of Thursday's Senate vote.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs