Members of the Senate Banking Committee were at odds on Tuesday as to whether Richard Cordray is qualified to be the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Cordray, who currently serves as head of the CFPB’s enforcement division, was nominated by President Obama on July 18 to serve as the bureau’s director.
A vote on Cordray’s nomination did not take place on Tuesday, and will be scheduled and announced at a later date.
At a hearing to consider Cordray’s nomination, Sen. Tim Johnson (left), D-S.D., chairman of the committee, said that a “vocal minority” of Senate Republicans “is playing games with the process and holding Mr. Cordray’s nomination hostage.” This political gamesmanship, he continued, “is preventing Americans from receiving the consumer protections they deserve.”
But Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., ranking minority member on the committee, argued that the hearing was “premature” and that the Committee should not consider any nominee to be the director CFPB “until reforms are adopted to make the Bureau accountable to the American people.” Shelby cited the letter he and 43 of his Senate colleagues sent to President Obama expressing their “serious concerns” about the CFPB’s “lack of accountability.” The Senators, he said, proposed “three reasonable reforms” to the structure of the CFPB, including replacing the one director with a five-member board.