As expected, the Senate today voted against advancing President Obama’s nominee, Richard Cordray, to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The vote, 53-45-1, was along party lines with the exception of Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who voted with the Democrats. Senator Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, voted present. And Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., did not vote.
Senate Republicans all week argued that they are blocking Cordray’s nomination – not even letting the Senate advance him to an up-or-down vote – not because of his qualifications but because they are trying to force structural changes to the bureau, changes they’ve called for the White House to make since the proposal for the bureau.
Republicans have been consistently concerned about the bureau’s “lack of transparency or accountability,” and say they have not had their concerns adequately addressed by the White House.
Republicans want the potential director replaced with a board of directors that would oversee the bureau because, they say, they don’t believe a single person should have so much power. Additionally, they believe the bureau should be subject to the congressional appropriations process, or, otherwise, they say, it would have a “funding stream” without a check from the American people.
After today’s vote, Senate Democrats blasted Republicans for standing in the way of the nomination to get an up-or-down vote.
“This is Republican never-never land,” Sen., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said today, “They speak to the GOP’s true motives, to deprive the critical agency of any power to protect middle-class consumers. … This is not over, we will never sign on any attempt to permanently gut this agency.”
Schumer called on President Obama to do use whatever “tools” he has left to get this nomination through, perhaps even a recess appointment.
“I don’t know what the president is going to do,” he said, “but I think he should do everything within his power to get Mr. Cordray on board.”