Just three days before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau throws open its doors for business, President Barack Obama nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the new agency.
"We are going to stand up this bureau and ensure it is doing the right thing for middle class families all across the country," Obama said at a Rose Garden ceremony announcing his choice to direct the CFPB.
Cordray, 52, has been helping special presidential adviser Elizabeth Warren set up the bureau since he lost re-election as attorney general in November. Cordray, now head of enforcement at the CFPB, was elected Ohio state treasurer in 2007 and served two years in the Ohio legislature.
In choosing Cordray, Obama sidestepped Warren, who has spent the past year assembling the bureau amid stiff Republican opposition. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated today that 44 Republican senators will block any nominee until the CFPB director is replaced with a five-member commission, and other steps are taken to weaken its power.
“Republicans have voiced our serious concerns over the creation of the CFPB because it represents a government-driven solution to a problem government helped create,” McConnell said. “We have no doubt that, without proper oversight, the CFPB will only multiply the kind of countless burdensome regulations that are holding our economy back right now, and that it will have countless unintended consequences for individuals and small businesses that constrict credit, stifle growth, and destroy jobs.
The Financial Stability Oversight Council, made up of major Wall Street regulators throughout the federal government, has the power to veto any CFPB decisions.