GOP senators vow to block consumer bureau nominee

The slow creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau encountered a new hurdle on Thursday when 44 Republican senators delivered a letter to President Obama declaring they "will not confirm any nominee, regardless of party affiliation" to run it.

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in an accompanying statement that "The CFPB as created by the deeply flawed Dodd-Frank Act is set to be one of the least accountable and most powerful agencies in Washington. Today's letter delivers a commitment by 44 Republican senators to fix the poorly thought structure of this agency that will have unprecedented reach and control over individual consumer decisions -- but an unprecedented lack of oversight and accountability."

Republicans have long opposed Obama's choice of Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, whom they regard as too aggressive, as bureau director. She has been overseeing the agency created in July 2010 on a temporary basis.

Rather than a director, the Republicans favor an advisory board, saying that would prevent a single person from dominating the bureau and "provide a critical check on the bureau's authority." They also would subject the bureau to the congressional appropriations process. "This would provide oversight and accountability to the American people on how public money is spent," the letter said. Finally, the Republicans would establish a "safety-and-soundness check for regulators who oversee financial institutions" to "help ensure that excessive regulations do not needlessly cause bank failures."

The White House, according to news reports, continues to defend the existing arrangement that places the independent bureau within the Federal Reserve, saying it would provide the "strongest consumer protections in history."

The president has until July 21 to get a director seated in the job, and has the option, given the capacity of 44 senators to filibuster a nomination, to rely on a recess appointment.

Travis Plunkett, legislative director of the Consumer Federation of America, called the letter "astonishing" for insisting that "both Houses of Congress and the president agree to far-reaching changes to the bureau's structure and funding before the agency ever opens its doors.

"The measures that these senators are demanding were all considered and rejected by Congress last year," he said, "because they would give big banks extraordinary power over the bureau's operations and handcuff the only consumer financial cop on the beat that Americans have ever had."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.