ABC News' Jonathan Karl (@JonKarl) reports: One day after the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened its doors, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., doubled down on his resolve to block the appointment of the agency’s first leader.
“We fought it last year. We’re going to continue to fight it,” Shelby, a Republican, told ABC News' Jonathan Karl in the latest installment of the “Subway Series.”
“This puts so much power, too much power, in one person, and we should never have done that,” he said of the Dodd-Frank law, which created the agency and its directorship last year.
“This is about accountability, and what we’re asking for is … not to change the mission, but of governance,” he said. “And the president can do this. If he doesn’t do it, I believe we’re not going to budge and we shouldn’t.”
This week, Obama nominated Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the new agency, but his appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.
Shelby said he doesn't oppose Cordray personally, but opposes any single person to head the agency.
He and 42 Republican colleagues have written President Obama demanding a “structural change” to the bureau that would replace the director with a board of managers, and subject it to the Congressional appropriations process. The White House opposes the changes.
On the debt and deficit debate, Shelby took an equally firm stand against the prospect of a U.S. default, which has been raised by some House Republicans. “I don’t believe we will default. We should never think about defaulting,” he said, predicting there will be a temporary resolution before Aug. 2.
“If we don’t do something serious — and I don’t believe we can do it in the next two weeks, in the next few months about spending — we’re going to have a bigger can to kick down the road,” he said.
Shelby responded warmly to the $3.7 trillion deficit reduction framework drafted by the bipartisan "Gang of Six "senators, but he suggested it’s too early to offer a full-fledged endorsement.
“We are looking at the details,” he said. “I hope it is more than smoke and mirrors. I hope it is no smoke and no mirrors.”
But could Shelby back the gang’s plan to increase tax revenue through elimination of loopholes and deductions while lowering individuals’ rates overall?
“I am interested in, as I said … knocking out all the special interest deductions that came with the present revenue code we have and lowering individuals’ rates," he said. "That is what I am about.”