McConnell-Reid, GOP Challenges on Consumer Bureau, Not Nominating Liz Warren to Head Bureau: Today’s Q’s for O’s WH – 7/18/2011

By Eliza

Jul 18, 2011 4:32pm

ap jay carney ll 110714 wb McConnell Reid, GOP Challenges on Consumer Bureau, Not Nominating Liz Warren to Head Bureau: Today’s Q’s for O’s WH – 7/18/2011

TAPPER:  Will Democrats in the House vote for the McConnell-Reid measure enough to pass, just in case it comes down to the wire here? Because it seems as though everybody's off on their different track here.  The House — the House Republicans are passing Cap, Cut (sic) and Balance, which probably can't pass the Senate, and if it does, the president has said that he will veto.  So McConnell's doing his thing. Are you guys trying to at least lobby Democrats to vote for that?

CARNEY:  Well, the conversations are ongoing about precisely that.  We need to make sure that whatever we do here can pass Congress and is acceptable to the president to sign.  We don't have too much time to play with.  So I can't ask you your — answer your question, because we don't actually know what that bill would look like yet, and I think that the question — the same question could be asked of House Republicans about whether — because they have registered the loudest protests, I believe, to Senator McConnell's proposal.

So I think the leaders are working on that, looking at various ways that we can, even through that mechanism, get significant deficit reduction, or at least some deficit reduction.  But that is a fluid process, and to predict what might get votes and from where is hard to do when we don't even know exactly what the measure will be.

TAPPER:  On the Consumer Financial Protection Board, Senate Republicans had sent a letter to the president in May saying that they would block any nominee unless changes were made to the board: replacing the director with an advisory panel, making it a – making the board — the bureau have to seek congressional appropriations, and another change that escapes me.  Do you guys have a response to that?

CARNEY:  The president strongly believes that the board as it is constructed is the right thing for the American people.  I mean, it has not been that long since the financial crisis led to the deepest recession since the Great Depression, and that millions of Americans are still feeling the effects of that.

And so many Americans, you know, get their credit card agreements and don't understand the fine print, that's written in a way precisely so that they cannot understand it, and then find out that their rates double overnight.  So many Americans — I know when I close a mortgage on my house, you know, there's so much paperwork, how could you possibly understand what's in it?  And this — this bureau is designed precisely to protect consumers, and it is an essential thing to do.  If there is anything we learned out of this crisis, it was that consumers need to be protected.

And the president believes very strongly that this — the CFPB is vital to that.  And Elizabeth Warren has done an excellent job in standing up that bureau.  And Richard Cordray will do an excellent job leading it into the future.

TAPPER:  Public Citizen said about the fact that Warren was not nominated to the position, quote, "Wall Street and the big banks did not want her to get the job.  President Barack Obama decided to succumb to those interests rather than fight for the American people." Do you have a response?

CARNEY:  Well, first of all, the president established this bureau, and it was Elizabeth Warren's idea.  The president asked Elizabeth Warren to stand up this agency, and she did an excellent job.  I need not remind you what Republicans in the Senate have said about the possibility of a confirmation for Elizabeth Warren and their absolute refusal for that. 

I mean, that — you know, what the — the obstacles here are clear.  And as you noted, the obstacles are — you know, are blanket, at least according to Republican senators.  They do not want this agency that is designed to — precisely to protect consumers to exist as it now stands.  And they said they would reject or oppose any nominee, which is something I think that needs to be explained to the American people, because this agency is there to protect them. So we will continue.  We believe that Richard Cordray is the right person.  The president firmly believes he's the right person.

His record as chief of enforcement is exemplary.  His record in Ohio is very impressive.  So he's the right person for the job, and we believe the Senate should and will confirm him.

TAPPER:  I think the point that Public Citizen was making was that the president should have fought for Elizabeth Warren instead of blinking.

CARNEY:  I think our position is clear.  Richard Cordray is the right person for the job.  And we are going to fight to get him confirmed. And I think that if you look at his record, he is absolutely the same kind of defender of consumers in the financial world as Elizabeth Warren has been in her service. 

-Jake Tapper

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