Senate Republicans are preparing to filibuster Richard Cordray’s nomination to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for the second time, even though several GOP senators have praised the job the former Ohio attorney general has done leading the organization created in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Corday was installed as director via a recess appointment by President Obama.
The GOP’s problem isn’t with Cordray. It’s with the CFPB, says Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who came up with the idea of the agency and helped build it.
“From the way I see how other agencies are treated, I find nothing here but a filibuster attempt against Director Cordray as an attempt to weaken the consumer agency,” she said.
Republicans have demanded several changes to the agency before they will appoint anyone to lead it. All of the changes involve taking away the independence of the bureau, which is currently part of the Federal Reserve, and weakening its effectiveness by putting it under the control of a bipartisan commission.
“Blocking Rich Cordray is about keeping the game rigged; keeping the game rigged so that consumers remain in the dark — and a few bad actors can rake in big profits,” Warren told the Consumer Federation of America.
So what will Senator Warren do when Republicans again try to nullify the power of the CFPB by refusing to allow it to have a director?
Brent Budowsky, a former legislative aide, thinks this obstruction by the GOP may propel Warren to “national stature from the Senate reminiscent of Robert F. Kennedy.”
How could that happen? Warren could seize the Cordray filibuster as a chance to show how the Republican Party keeps the system “rigged” — which is the title of her forthcoming book — on behalf of the same bankers who led us into the financial crisis. Budowsky explains:
If Republicans filibuster Cordray, Democratic leaders and/or Senate liberals should call their bluff and bring the nomination to the Senate floor for lengthy debate — or if needed, a talking liberal counter-filibuster in the manner that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) took for nearly 13 hours to galvanize the attention of the media and the nation.
Pro-Cordray senators should make lengthy presentations, with each pro-Cordray senator discussing — in detail — why he should be supported by voters victimized by credit card abuse, homeowners cheated by mortgage abuses, military families victimized by financial corruption, active-duty troops abused by payday lenders and all Americans harmed and outraged by the countless abuses, bailouts and inequities of the great financial crises of the Bush years.
The videos on Senator Warren’s YouTube page already have nearly 1,500,000 views in the short time she’s been in office. There’s obviously a huge appetite for her speaking truth to power on both sides of the aisle, especially when it comes to fixing the still-broken system that leaves “too big to jail” banks free to destroy our economy again.
If the GOP won’t let the CFPB do its job protecting consumers from the kinds of abuses that led to millions of foreclosures, Warren can do hers by speaking out on behalf of those consumers until the whole nation hears what she’s saying.
AP Photo/Cliff Owen