U.S. Senate confirms Cordray as CFPB director

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jul 17, 2013

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Senate voted 66-34 in favor of Cordray's confirmation Tuesday evening.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who was passed over for Cordray to head the bureau when it was created, announced the confirmation.

The vote came less than eight hours after senators invoked cloture on Cordray's nomination with a 71-29 vote. Of those 71 votes, 17 were Republicans.

President Barack Obama, in a statement Tuesday, said he was "pleased" the Senate took action.

"Over the last two years, I've nominated leaders to fill important positions required to do the work of the American people, only to have those positions remain unfilled -- not because the nominees were somehow unqualified, but for purely political reasons," he said.

"I want to thank the senators from both parties -- including Leader Reid, Leader (Mitch) McConnell and Sen. (John) McCain -- who have worked together to find a path forward and give these nominees the votes they deserve."

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.

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

The President, who argued the appointment was necessary given Republicans' "stonewalling," renominated Cordray to the position earlier this year.

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 jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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