President Barack Obama and Richard Cordray meet with the Eason family, victims of mortgage fraud.
After more than 700 days of waiting for a Senate vote, and with Sen. Elizabeth Warren presiding, Richard Cordray is now the duly appointed and confirmed director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He won confirmation in a 66-34 vote. (Making a liar out of Mitch McConnell and 42 other Republicans who
declared in a letter
to President Obama in February that Cordray would never be confirmed.)
This is the first victory for Democrats after the latest filibuster deal struck in the Senate.
Cordray has been acting director of the agency since January 2012, when President Obama put him in the seat with a recess appointment. That appointment, along with those of two National Labor Relations Board members, was challenged by Republicans in court, and the conservative D.C. Circuit ruled that the appointments were unconstitutional. What this development means for the pending appeal of that decision before the Supreme Court isn't known at the moment, but presumably the case will be withdrawn.
The CFPB hasn't just been sitting around twiddling its collective thumbs while waiting for a permanent director. So far, "CFPB enforcement actions have resulted in $425 million in refunds to approximately 6 million consumers who were subject to deceptive financial practices," and has "also paved the way for resolving more than 133,000 financial services complaints, covering areas like credit cards, mortgages, student loans, and bank account services."
This isn't going to mean the end of Republicans doing Wall Street's bidding by trying to undermine the agency. Expect Cordray to have to appear regularly in the House committees with oversight over the agency. But the GOP has lost the big fight, and that's good news for Main Street.
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