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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.