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CFPB Director Cordray remains unconfirmed three months after appointment

Richard Cordray

Richard Cordray

More than three months have passed since President Obama re-nominated CFPB Director Richard Cordray to head the agency, but debate surrounding his appointment to the position continues in Congress.

The Senate has not yet confirmed Cordray to lead the agency following a court ruling earlier this year that found President Obama’s installation of Cordray to the position to be unconstitutional.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the head of the House Financial Services Committee, recently said the committee would refuse to hear Cordray’s testimony on the CFPB’s semi-annual report because it cannot legally do so.

“The court’s unanimous ruling makes it clear that there is no legally-appointed director of the CFPB at this time,” Hensarling said. “By law, the committee can receive this testimony only from a director who is appointed in accordance with the Constitution and the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the bureau.”

In a letter to CFPB Associate Director and General Counsel Meredith Fuchs, Hensarling said the committee “stands ready to accept the testimony of the director of the CFPB…as soon as an individual validly holds this position.”

Cordray, however, appeared on Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee to present the CFPB’s semi-annual report.

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, praised the agency’s progress in implementing consumer protections and its outreach efforts with consumers and industry participants. Johnson also advocated for Cordray’s rapid confirmation.

“Director Cordray, you have proven day-in and day-out that you are well qualified for your position,” Johnson said. “Even my colleagues across the aisle concede this point. I hope we can provide the market the certainty it needs and consumers the cop on the beat they deserve by confirming you quickly.”

Congressional Republicans have vowed to block Cordray’s confirmation until key changes are made to the agency, which many maintain has over-expansive power. Some of the requested changes include the replacement of Cordray with a five-member, bipartisan commission and the placement of the agency’s budget under the congressional appropriations process.

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