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

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins 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.
Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid