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Senate invokes cloture; Cordray's nomination to head CFPB advances

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jul 16, 2013

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- Former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray's nomination as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advanced Tuesday, after nearly two years of partisan warfare.

The U.S. Senate, in a roll call vote Tuesday morning, invoked cloture on Cordray's nomination, 71-29.

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.

According to the chamber's rules, a vote on his nomination should occur within eight hours.

Tuesday's cloture vote came shortly after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he and GOP leaders reached a deal to avoid the so-called "nuclear option" in the Senate and preserve the use of the filibuster in the chamber.

Democrats threatened to change the Senate rules so that it would only take 51 votes to confirm executive branch nominees, including Cordray and nominees to the National Labor Relations Board.

Cordray, who served as Ohio's top lawyer from 2009-11, was recess-appointed by President Barack Obama in 2012.

However, his appointment, which expires in January, has been called into question after a federal appeals court ruling earlier this year.

In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in Noel Canning v. NLRB that Obama's "intrasession appointment" of three new members to the NLRB was an unconstitutional abuse of power.

The nation's high court will review the case, deciding whether the recess appointments are unconstitutional, in its 2013-14 term.

Obama, who argued the appointments were necessary given Republicans' "stonewalling," renominated Cordray to the position earlier this year.

Cordray's nomination also has been at the center of a dispute over the bureau itself.

A group of Republican senators, earlier this year, vowed to oppose the confirmation of any nominee, regardless of party affiliation, to be the CFPB's director.

They argued that "key changes" needed to be made to "ensure accountability and transparency" at the bureau -- in particular, that it should be run by a board rather than a director.

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.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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