The two years it took to confirm Richard Cordray to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau were only part of an even longer fight.
Following Harry Reid’s threat to eliminate the filibuster for executive appointments – the so-called “nuclear option” – the Senate finally confirmed Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, after a nearly two-year battle. According to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal, this delay had nothing to do with opposition to Cordray. The Republican Party acknowledged that President Obama had chosen a perfectly fine candidate; they just didn’t want anyone running the CFPB, because they aren’t into consumer protection.
It took two years to convince the Republicans to allow the installation of a CFPB Director, but the fight for consumer protection has been going on for much longer then that. The Roosevelt Institute’s Make Markets Be Markets report, published in March 2010, featured an earlier proposal for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency by Elizabeth Warren. As the architect and early advocate of the Bureau, Warren was many progressives’ first pick for director, but she was passed over when it became clear that Republicans would not confirm her.
Luckily for us, the CFPB is now able to function as intended, and Warren’s work on consumer protection and banking regulation continues in the Senate. Her next step? She’s pushing for a 21st Century Glass-Steagal Act, co-sponsored with John McCain, to protect Americans from future banking crises. When CNBC anchor Joe Kernan tried to push back at Warren on this proposal, she pointed out that everyone told her the CFPB would never pass – and we saw how those predictions panned out.
Watch Senator Warren’s smackdown below: