The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a new agency, created just last year. They have a big responsibility -- acting as a watchdog for all of us who hold a mortgage, use credit cards, or otherwise need to apply for a loan.
The staff there has already gotten to work. Just this week, they've announced a project to simplify credit card agreements and make them less confusing for consumers.
But right now, the Bureau is hamstrung by the simple fact that the Senate has so far refused to confirm Richard Cordray -- the man who President Obama has nominated to be its director.
This isn't a question of credentials. Cordray has a wealth of experience as a public servant. He has clerked for the Supreme Court, been elected to the Ohio state legislature, and served as Ohio's State Treasury and Attorney General. He understands the issues facing middle class families and has been a champion for consumers throughout his career.
This isn't really even a question of bipartisan support. Cordray has the backing of a majority of the nation's Attorneys General. So far, 37 of them, Republicans and Democrats, from across the country, have called on the Senate to confirm Cordray. That's a call that's been echoed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who have issued their own letter calling for Cordray's confirmation.
Instead, this is about Republicans trying to make the CFPB less effective. President Obama talked about that refusal to confirm Cordray yesterday in Kansas:
Does anyone think the problem before that led to this crisis was too much oversight of mortgage lenders or debt collectors? Every day we go without a consumer watchdog in place is another day when a student, or a service member, or a senior citizen could be tricked into a loan they can’t afford – something that happens all the time. Financial institutions have plenty of lobbyists looking out for their interests. Consumers deserve to have someone whose job it is to look out for theirs. And I intend to make sure they do.
Now, it appears that the Senate will finally vote on Cordray's nomination. We'll keep you posted as that vote unfolds.