Jessica M. Karmasek Jul. 15, 2013, 5:00pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week filed cloture on former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray's nomination as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

On Thursday, Reid, D-Nev., filed cloture on a total of seven nominations, including Cordray's and those of Richard Griffin, Sharon Block and Mark Pearce, all three to the National Labor Relations Board.

Cloture is the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter and thereby overcome a filibuster.

Under the cloture rule, the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by a vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes.

Cordray's cloture vote is set for Monday evening.

In this case, if no agreement on the nominations can be reached, the first cloture vote would occur early Tuesday morning, according to a floor schedule posted on the Senate Democrats' website.

If cloture is invoked on any of the nominations, there would be up to 8 hours for debate prior to a vote on confirmation of the nomination -- except for the nomination of Thomas Perez, who was picked by President Barack Obama to be the next Secretary of Labor. That nomination would have up to 30 hours of post-cloture debate, according to Senate Democrats.

If cloture is not invoked on a nomination, the Senate would proceed to vote on cloture on the next nomination.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, urged a delay in the vote last week.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, Portman said progress was being made on resolving Cordray's nomination.

Portman told the newspaper that by forcing a floor vote, Reid would "harden positions on both sides."

"So I would hope that Harry Reid would not move forward, and I have expressed that strongly, and I will continue to because I think that we are making progress on an alternative," he said.

Cordray's nomination is at the center of much larger dispute over the bureau itself.

The CFPB, created by the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul, is tasked with overseeing the federal financial laws that specifically protect consumers -- people who keep their money in banks and credit unions, pay for goods and services with their credit cards, and rely on loans to buy homes or pay for college, among other services.

A group of Republican senators have said they will oppose the confirmation of any nominee, regardless of party affiliation, to be the CFPB's director.

The senators argue that "key changes" must be made to "ensure accountability and transparency" at the bureau.

In particular, they have issues with how the bureau is set up and believe that no one person -- in this case, Cordray -- should have such power over the American people.

The CFPB, they argue, should be run by a board rather than a director.

Further complicating Cordray's nomination is Noel Canning v. NLRB.

In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in the case that the President's "intrasession appointment" of three new members to the NLRB -- Griffin, Block and Pearce -- was an unconstitutional abuse of power.

Cordray was appointed to director of the CFPB the same day as the three NLRB members.

Obama renominated Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, to the position earlier this year.

The nation's high court said last month it would review the case and decide whether Obama's recess appointments are unconstitutional. The court will consider the case in its 2013-14 term.

The court's decision to hear the case doesn't exactly help Cordray's confirmation.

However, Portman has been working a small bipartisan group of senators trying to make changes to the CFPB and how its governed, in hopes of getting his fellow Ohioan confirmed.

One of the proposals includes creating a board that would have a chairman, similar to how the Securities Exchange Commission operates.

A second proposal would be to create a permanent inspector general responsible solely for the CFPB.

Reid said last week if Republicans fail to confirm Cordray, and the six other nominees, that he will ask the Senate to change the rules to require just 51 votes to confirm a nominee.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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