President Barack Obama has renominated Richard Cordray to continue to serve as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, a federal agency created in 2010 after the U.S. financial crisis.
In his remarks announcing the nomination, Obama said Cordray has "proved to be a champion of American consumers."
Obama didn't mention the U.S. circuit court opinion that has called his Jan. 4, 2012, recess appointment of Cordray into question. But he did refer to Republicans' stand against the nomination:
"A year and a half ago, I nominated Richard Cordray to lead the watchdog agency we created to give Americans the information they need to make sound financial choices and protect them from unscrupulous lenders and debt collectors….[N]obody questioned Richard's qualifications. But he wasn't allowed an up or down vote in the Senate, and as a consequence, I took action to appoint him on my own," Obama said.
"Richard's appointment runs out at the end of the year," Obama continued, "and he can't stay on the job unless the Senate finally gives him the vote that he deserves. Financial institutions have plenty of lobbyists looking out for their interests. The American people need Richard to keep standing up for them. And there's absolutely no excuse for the Senate to wait any longer to confirm him."
Republicans in Congress and banking industry groups have renewed their calls for the CFPB director to be replaced by a board or commission, but consumer groups lauded Obama's renomination of Cordray and pushed for a quick confirmation.
Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and senior counsel at the Consumer Federation of America, a consumer advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., said in a statement that the establishment of the CFPB was "one of the most important results of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation."
"The public deserves a well-qualified confirmed director at the head of this important agency," Weintraub said.
The CFPB aims to help consumers get clear and simple information about financial products and services, enforce consumer financial protection laws, research consumer behavior and monitor the financial sector for new risks to consumers, according to an "explainer" posted on the White House blog.
The agency has taken a interest in mortgages, student loans and credit cards, among other financial products.
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