President Obama Announces Confirmation of Consumer Watchdog

President makes confirmation of Richard Cordray official after 2-years of Congressional hold-ups.
22:06 | 07/17/13

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Transcript for President Obama Announces Confirmation of Consumer Watchdog
-- -- dance company or -- this ABC news digital special reports. President Obama is about to introduce the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who is. Actually -- -- -- job for about 2 years but this morning vice president Joseph Biden on the left there presiding over the swearing in ceremony. Our Richard Cordray as director of the agency -- and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the Bible for the ceremony. This -- has been a long time coming for Cordray overcoming a lengthy filibuster by senate Republicans. I want to bring -- NEC's Mary Bruce outside the White House this morning Mary I know that it is very warm down there so I really appreciate you being with us today a big announcement that states that a long time coming up for the Republicans -- in this company. -- and that's right it has been a long time coming after a deal was reached yesterday the senate finally confirmed Richard Cordray. And as you -- it's been two years in the making the president first nominated in two years over this division but Republicans held up that nomination. That this had more to do with the structure of this new agency the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau actually had very little -- nothing to do with Cordray himself. But after a deal was reached yesterday they finally confirmed him and he will now be be taking this position permanently the president had. Put him in the post -- -- last year but that was only last so long it's announced the -- me take that position as of today. What other things that I had read the fact that some of the Republicans that were blocking this nomination -- and in fact the structure of the actual leadership to be changed if they necessarily didn't want. One person to be directed they wanted to board of directors that correct. That's their objections that everything to do with the structure of the agency's oversight agency actually objected to it even being called agency at all. -- -- unlike a lot of other nominations that are held up this had nothing to do with Cordray himself and really everything to do with. The existing the existence of this bureau itself. So now not only does this solidify -- -- -- position today that he's been officially confirmed but it also solidifies the agency going forward now. This was one of seven nominations -- have been held up recently and as we had mentioned and reporting on earlier this week Democrats have been threatened to use a so called. Nuclear option where it would require only a simple majority 51 votes. To pass these nominations that were put up by the president. That was averted from -- -- initiation that was worked out yesterday. But now with the confirmation of Richard Cordray does that affect any of those other nominations have been put up. Absolutely this affects seven different nominations for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And the National Labor Relations Board as you mentioned the senate averted really a political meltdown yesterday when Democrats agreed that they would. Keep in -- the existing filibuster rules in exchange for Republicans agreeing to let these nominations go forward to agree to vote on these nominations and now is part of that. These seven people what we'll finally have a chance to to take on these positions after much delay in the senate -- so and the questions sort of does -- that. How was -- were able to stay on the job for so long without actually being -- We'll the president use one of the tools and has told known as a recess appointment which means that he went ahead and put him in the position but was only temporary that was going to -- to run out essentially later this summer -- the senate did have to act. Soon if they wanted to see Cordray in -- position permanently end. I guess it -- of course these the next question is how exactly does the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau operate what is it like to do for the everyday American. Whether -- for their mortgages -- for their credit card payments. There's -- new agency that the president this administration created in 2000 any. After the financial crisis and is intended to look out for the average American to look out for consumers when it comes to mortgages to their credit cards to other. Financial protections to make sure that they're safe and that they have. The federal government looking out for their best -- And you can see on the shot there on the right you can see you inside the White House there. The woman in pink is the senator for Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren senior senator there. And Mary she was really architect behind this agency. That's right this agency was really her baby she came up with the idea for this agency. And it -- Pour a little shocked when she wasn't given the position to -- it but -- the president the administration about the Richard Richard Cordray was the best pick for an obviously as you mentioned Elizabeth Warren has gone on to to bigger better things as well. If we -- -- exactly and she had mentioned in fact in -- -- in and a lengthy article in 2007 and fact that it was. More -- more protection provided for consumer buying a toaster oven -- it was actually getting a mortgage. And that was what really caught the president's attention. In wanting to put further regulations in place then of course bring this agency as well. And and I wonder Mary if you could talk a little bit the point that it's and -- taking this -- now the president about it. Making its way into the room burial get to you and his dog but first. Let's go to the president making his way to the podium. Well for decades. The middle class. In this country. Was the engine to power the economy. And that allowed us to all -- ago. Hard work paid off responsibility was rewarded. It was. That basic bargain that made this country great that no matter who you -- where you came from. You could make it if you put enough. Blood sweat and tears. But over time. A winner take all philosophies begin to take hold it and -- delivered -- -- Those of the very top but left. Everybody else working harder and harder just to stay afloat. Multifamily took on more debt just to keep up. Mortgages were sold -- people. Really don't understand. And in some cases couldn't afford. Financial sectors was able make huge bats with the other people's money and that. Strain of irresponsibility. Eventually came crashing down on all -- Ran for president to restore that basic mark. -- ran because I believe that our economy works best. Not from the top down from the middle out and from the bottom up. Where you've got a rising thriving middle class and ladders of opportunity. For everybody. So for years ago even as we were working on restoring. The economy and dealing with the immediate crisis. We also want to figure out how we set new rules for the world to make sure that. A few bad apples in the financial sector couldn't break the law or -- consumers. Or put the entire economy at risk. And I was fortunate even when I was running for president. Have some brands like Coca -- been Warren who who would -- done a lot of academic work on this. -- had a whole series of ideas about. How we might start making sure that consumers were treated better. And -- consequence. Take some of the risk out of the system. And because of those conversations -- work. And because of some terrific efforts by other members of congress we were able for the first time in history. To get a consumer watchdog on the job. To look out for the interest of every day Americans. And I am very proud to say that last night rich Cordray was finally confirmed by the United States senate. To keep serving as America's consumer watchdog and as the director. They consumer financial protections -- My first nominated -- for this position. Two years ago this -- He was imminently qualified. You have the support of Democrats. And Republicans. From across the country. A majority state attorneys general. From both parties. Rich's former colleagues. Called on him to be confirmed. And for two years Republicans in the senate refused get rich a simple yes or no vote. Not because they didn't think he was right person for the job but because they didn't like the law that set up the consumer watchdog in the first place. But without a director in place this the FBB. Would have been severely hampered. And CF BB wasn't able to give consumers the information they needed to make good informed decisions folks in the financial system. Who were doing the right thing didn't have much certainty. Or clear rules -- the world and the CF peavy didn't have all the tools it needed to protect consumers against mortgage brokers. War credit reporting agencies or debt collectors who were taking advantage of ordinary Americans. As a consequence last year I took steps on -- -- to temporarily appoint Richard so he could get work. Get to work on their behalf. And Americans everywhere are better off because he did. And thanks to not only rich but. His terrific team and many are represented here. -- we've made real strides even. Despite the fact that the agency was hampered by. The confirmation process. And I would argue that part of the reason we were able. To finally get rich confirmed today is because he's shown through his leadership and because the very hard work. That everybody at the CF BB has already done. That this is making a difference in the lives of the American people a positive difference day in day out it's hard to argue. With success. So yesterday Richard. Was officially confirmed. I want to thank senators from both parties including senator Reid. Senator McConnell. Senator McKay. For coming together to help get rich confirmed and obviously Elizabeth -- What the senator what you thought this up but is now a senator she was poke and prod people for a long time. To help make it happen. Senator Reid's leadership in particular was obviously instrumental. In getting this done and couldn't be more grateful to him. And together. We're giving Americans a guarantee. That the protections they enjoy today. Will still be around -- In the year after that year after that and for years to come. While we're on the topic of nominations -- also want to thank the senate for agreeing to give my other nominees have waited far too long. The votes that they deserve these are all highly qualified men and women we're just ready to go to work for the American people. For students -- for seniors. For veterans. For middle class families. Special interests they'll always have their lobbyists. They'll always have the capacity to tilt the system. In their favor but middle class folks deserve leaders were gonna stand up for them as well. On a day to day basis in the treacherous. So let me use this opportunity -- remind people of what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under rich. -- -- leadership. Can do and has done all right even in some difficult circumstances. Today. If you want to take out -- more. For a student -- Or pay the law. Or you've got a credit reporting agencies work debt collector who's causing you problems. Maybe they're not playing by the rules. Maybe they're taking advantage of you have somewhere to go. The CF PB has already addressed more than a 175000. Complaints. From all across the nation. Giving people an advocate. Who was working -- -- when they're dealing. With these financial institutions that may not always be. Thinking about consumers first. Today is part of the CF BBs know before your efforts students and their parents can get a simple report. With the information they need before taking out student loans. And more than 700 colleges have joined to make this information clear and transparent it's making a difference. And by the way if you've noticed that some credit card forms are becoming easier to understand than they used to be. That's because of the work of richest team. And other folks across this administration have done. To make sure that people understand. The kinds of debts that they're taking on through the through their credit -- Today veterans have access to tools that they need to defend. Against dishonest lenders and mortgage brokers who try to prey on them. When they come home from serving their country. -- seniors are better protected from someone who sees their homes of the retirement savings as an easy target for get rich. -- -- And thanks to the hardworking folks of the CF PB so far six million Americans have gotten more than 400. Million dollars. In refunds. From companies that. Engaged in unscrupulous practices. So this is not just some abstract. Theoretical exercise. Families. Many of them are pressed have money in their pockets. Maybe in some cases -- all. Or were able to send their kids to college because of the war that rich and his team is doing right now. And that's money that. Oftentimes. -- -- have power to recover before. So Americans are better off because of what rich has done as our consumer watchdog and his outstanding team is doing. Each and every day. And by the way that's just the tangible. Benefits that we know that 400 million dollars in reforms but part of what happens is when you've got to watch -- People don't try as many things. An -- -- -- starts tightening up their practices. And because they know somebody is watching and so that has ripple effects throughout our economy. So Americans ever work better off because of the work through these folks have done and -- that rich has gotten a yes or no vote he deserved. Businesses consumers have more certainty than they did before that this will continue. So we've come a long white over the last four and a half years. Our economy is growing our business is created seven point two million new jobs over the past forty months. We've locked in new safeguards to protect against another crisis. We are making sure that we are doing everything we can't. Change the incentives inside the financial system and try to end tax funded taxpayer funded bailouts for good. An even though more work remains our system is fair and it's more sound. That it was. When the crisis it. Of course we've still got a long way to go to restore that basic mark. To restore that sense of security. That too many middle class families. Still are fighting to rebuild. But if we just people and people like rich do their jobs and we let all these incredible young people know that. You're gonna keep on going for a long time your buildings some from the then it will last. Beyond our government service. And will be providing protections for generations to comment and if we keep focused on that -- star. Rising thriving middle class and economy. Where prosperity is broad based. Then I'm confident were ultimately gonna get to where we need to go. So want to thank everybody and I just want to give rich quick chance to desist. Thank you I wanna think. The president this president particular who has believed in us from the beginning I want to thank the senate and the senators. Four. The chance to persevere and be confirmed. As the director of this Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It's all I ever asked for all ever worked for -- to have a chance to have an up or down vote on the merits and I and I thank them for that. For nearly two years. As -- -- and indicated we have been focused on making consumer finance markets work better for the American people. Today's action the action. Night I was sworn in by the vice president this morning. And the senate confirmation. Means that there will be certainty for those markets -- for the industries we oversee. For me it also reaffirms that are central responsibility. Is to stand on the side consumers. And see that they're treated fairly. Just as the president. Describe it it's something that people deserve it something that they they want and need. And and where there tend to try to provide it. We will continue that essential work and each one of us those this year and those of us in Washington and around the country who work -- this new consumer bureau. Including most especially myself. We're grateful for the opportunity. That you've given us to serve our country in this important -- thank you think -- President and Africa Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. His nomination confirmed this morning and he was sworn in by vice president Joseph Biden just before 10 o'clock this morning. A long and lengthy process he's been on the job senator for the he was put in place from a recess appointment. By President Obama and you can see the president. Is not shaking hands with senator Elizabeth Warren the architect for this agency this government watchdog. That will. Enact regulations. Further explanation for exactly how consumers go about -- lending and borrowing. Credit card companies small businesses banks and financial. All -- -- interactions that take place from mortgages to credit card payments and looked -- now by the consumer financial. Protection bureau. Ceremonies -- ready wrap up outside the White House is ABC's Terry Bruce who's standing by Mary. The president saying today even a better shot at some of the Republicans that had broke through that filibuster Senator McCain in particular. That's right this. One of those incredibly rare moments of bipartisanship in Washington something that we don't see here very often especially not these days Senator McCain of course was president Obama's political opponent 2008. Broke broke party ranks broke with his own party to help broker -- negotiate this deal with leader Reid and McConnell. And you know the president like to see this go forward we don't you know how long it is bipartisanship molasses yet to be determined but. It is certainly an optimistic sign that that this is still possible that Republicans and Democrats can still come together to -- this kind of deal. And there were some of the details the president had laid out this morning about what it's mr. Cordray has already done with the CF TV. And what is expected then now that nominations in place. -- surprised to find that there weren't a lot -- -- -- a lot of -- as far as how this position is going to change as far as him actually being confirmed and officially in the position. -- -- he has been doing the job already sort of unofficially for a year before he was permanently confirmed today so. Ineffective business as usual for Richard Cordray but now we can really get to work and his agency now they don't have these. Resistance from Republicans looming over their heads can really now get to work this solidifies his agency going forward means that Americans now have. -- permanent consumer watchdog permanent advocate looking out for their rights when it comes to. Lenders and mortgages and credit card companies and so give Americans -- place to turn when they're looking for house. What are the things that senator Elizabeth Warren now senator Elizabeth Warren had said was that. Regulations seem to be an epithet in Washington DC following the Reagan years and that which she wrote this paper in 2007. That proposing any kind of an agency like this was certainly going to be -- those will be very difficult. For both sides to be able to come to grips to -- to be able to understand kind of a logistics and and how each party would except to it. But now it must -- this morning a bit of relief and sort of -- congratulations for her that in fact she has been pushing and pursuing this for such a great period of time. That there is now ahead of this department this agency that she has been trying to formulate. This is there's absolutely -- big collective sigh of relief here it's no small feat to create an entirely new agency and that's something that this administration has now done and it's clear a lot of hurdles to do yourself I think a lot of what we heard from the president there -- sort of touting this legislative victory that he's having with -- giving. Some cheers and high five and and shaking hands at the end -- this is definitely a big relief for him and a political victory as well. All right ABC's neighbors outside the White House very thank you for your time this morning we appreciate that of course -- have a complete wrap up on abcnews.com. On Richard Cordray being installed. As -- director for the consumer financial protection bureau for now I'm Dan Cutler -- New York with this ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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