The White House has undertaken an extraordinary push this week to promote the confirmation of a director for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, despite signs that Senate Republicans will not budge from their vow to block any nomination to the post unless Democrats agree to overhaul the new agency’s structure.
“Does anyone here think the problem that led to our financial crisis was too much oversight of mortgage lenders or debt collectors?” President Obama asked his audience during a speech on Tuesday in Kansas. To amplify that message, White House officials in recent days have conducted several briefings with reporters and arranged special access for print and television journalists from seven states where the administration thinks it might sway moderate Republican senators to break ranks.
The goal is to get the necessary 60 votes on Thursday to end Senate debate on the nomination of Richard Cordray, a former attorney general of Ohio, to be the consumer agency’s first director. Forty-five of the 47 Senate Republicans signed a letter in May vowing not to allow a vote unless Congress was given more oversight of the agency, including budgeting authority.
The consumer bureau, a legislative response to the predatory mortgage lending practices that many critics think were partly responsible for the financial crisis, was established as part of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory act, which was signed into law in July 2010.