Sen. Reid to Force Vote on Nomination of CFPB’s Cordray, Others (July 15, 2013)
July 15, 2013
In a protracted battle over several of President Barack Obama’s nominations, including his appointment of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last week filed cloture motions to force votes on seven nominees in an effort to bypass what he called “blatant obstruction” by Senate Republicans. The confirmation votes could come as early as tomorrow.
“A perfect example is the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” Reid said from the Senate floor on Thursday. “Mr. Cordray was nominated by the President in July of 2011—more than 23 months ago. There is no doubt about Mr. Corday’s ability to do the job. Indeed, he has won high praise from both Republicans and Democrats. . . . If Mr. Cordray received a fair, up-or-down vote, he would be confirmed immediately.”
Republicans have vehemently opposed Cordray’s confirmation, citing concerns about the structure and reach of the agency. Reid also has threatened to change Senate rules, enabling nominees to be confirmed with 51 votes, instead of 60, if Republicans try to block the nominations.
In addition to Cordray, Reid filed cloture on three nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); Gina McCarthy, nominee for Environmental Protection Agency administrator; labor secretary nominee Thomas Perez; and Fred Hochberg, nominee to serve a second term as head of the Export-Import Bank.
The U.S. Supreme Court last month decided to hear the case of National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning. Hanging in the balance is the legal validity not only of appointments made by President Obama to fill NLRB vacancies, but the appointment of Cordray to the CFPB.
The Senate’s actions this week will have no effect on the Canning case, according to Alan Kaplinsky, a partner with law firm Ballard Spahr LLP. “Even if appointees to the NLRB are confirmed, there would still remain serious issues about the legality of actions taken before the appointments are confirmed,” Kaplinsky tells Paybefore.