Floor Updates

McConnell, Shelby, Johnson(SD), Reed, Menendez, Vitter, Brown(OH)

Executive Session (Cordray Nomination)

Dec 08 2011

10:33 AM

Senator McConnell: (9:41 AM)
  • Spoke in opposition to the Cordray nomination.
    • SUMMARY "All today's vote is about is accountability and transparency. It's a debate about whether we think Americans need more oversight over Washington or less. Republicans made our position clear more than seven months ago when 44 of us signed a letter saying we won't support a nominee for this bureau no matter who the president is until three commonsense conditions are met that would bring some transparency and accountability to the CFPB. That letter now has 45 signatures. The president knew about these concerns months ago and he chose to dismiss them, and now he is suddenly making a push to confirm his nominee because it fits into some picture he wants to paint about who the good guys are and who the bad guys are here in Washington. So once again, Democrats are using the Senate floor this week to stage a little political theater. They are setting up a vote they know will fail so they can act shocked about it later. This is what passes for leadership at the White House right now... Republicans have outlined our concerns. They're well known. We're not going to let the President put another unelected czar in place, unaccountable to the American people. And frankly, his refusal to work with us on this only deepens our concerns. The CFPB requires reforms before any nominee can be confirmed. It's time the President takes these concerns seriously."

Senator Shelby: (9:46 AM)
  • Spoke in opposition to the Cordray nomination.
    • SUMMARY "Earlier this year, I and 44 of my colleagues sent a letter to the president expressing our concerns with the unaccountable structure of the bureau. It is now, Mr. President, seven months later, and the president has yet to respond. The Majority has called for a vote that they know will fail today. It is evident that the White House and the Majority have decided to place politics ahead of good policy. They have chosen to fabricate a political issue rather than do what is in the best interest of consumers. Nonetheless, they claim that this debate is about consumer protection. Mr. President, there's no disagreement, however, that consumer protection is, as the senator knows, needs to be enhanced. The only real point of contention is whether the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection will be accountable to the American people. If you believe regulators never fail, then the current structure of the bureau is just fine. Yet we all know that regulators do fail, and that their failures harm consumers."

Senator Johnson-SD: (10:00 AM)
  • Spoke in favor of the Cordray nomination.
    • SUMMARY "Due to an unprecedented and irresponsible display of political gamesmanship, Mr. Cordray's nomination and strong protections for the American consumers are being held hostage. Before any candidate was put forth, Senate Republicans pledged to block the nomination, and their objections had nothing to do with Mr. Cordray's qualifications his politics or his character. Republican senators have admitted as much. With a public pledge to block any nominee for the new consumer agency until a list of legislative demands which would greatly weaken the agency are met. That those demands were debated and rejected by a partisan congress last year is beside the point. The Minority party is distorting the Senate confirmation process mandated by the Constitution to rewrite a law against the wishes of the American people."

Senator Reed: (10:06 AM)
  • Spoke in favor of the Cordray nomination.
    • SUMMARY "The CFPB is charged with stopping abusive mortgage originators, stopping abusive credit card companies, stopping abusive private student loan. In a sense, protecting the consumers. For years, we have had organizations whose purpose was to protect the banking system and indirectly consumers. We need to provide a balance. And frankly, if we had this balance in place prior to 2008, we might have avoided some of the incredible costs we have seen, not only to consumers but to the banking system as a result of predatory behavior by many different financial institutions. Unfortunately, many of my Republican colleagues are trying not to correct deficiencies in the Dodd-Frank act or improve it. They want to gut it. And one of the things they want to take out is consumer protection, and they want to do that by denying a nominee to head this important agency. It certainly is a prerogative of my colleagues to work on improvement to any piece of legislation, but effectively we say we will not let legislation that has passed this body by 60 votes, that has ample precedent in the law to take effect because we won't put a person in charge is, I think, abusing the process."

Senator Menendez: (10:12 AM)
  • Spoke in favor of the Cordray nomination.
    • SUMMARY "This is really about whose side are you on. Cordray and consumer protection are being blocked simply because Republicans want to protect Wall Street. Wall Street already has a legion of lobbyists protecting its interests. We need someone who can protect main street's interests, and that's what Richard Cordray would do as a Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Richard Cordray is an unquestionably well-qualified nominee, and no one is disputing that fact, no one. I have not heard anyone dispute his qualifications for the job. We know the consumer financial protection bureau will be off to a good start with Richard Cordray at the helm, despite efforts by special interests to derail the process."

Senator Vitter: (10:17 AM)
  • Spoke in opposition to the Cordray nomination.
    • SUMMARY "I wanted to try to bring this discussion and this debate back to reality and to do that I wanted to remind folks that conservatives objecting to this nomination have from the very beginning laid out three very narrow, specific, concrete reforms that we are seeking. So this notion that we are against consumer protection, we're trying to gut CFPB is just silly. Let's get back to reality, back to what we have said from the very beginning, we want these three important reforms Now, I think the American people deserve a more honest debate than quite frankly, they're getting in a lot of this. This notion that if you're against Obamacare you're against all improvement of the health care system is silly, and I think Americans get that, as their health insurance premiums go up significantly now by every accounting, by every independent source, well beyond what they would have gone up otherwise. Being against that isn't being against health care reform. You know, we heard it earlier, if you're against the stimulus plan, you're against economic recovery. That's just silly. I think Americans know that, now that we're still stuck at very high unemployment. How is that recovery working out for you? I was against the stimulus because I was for economic recovery. And it's the same thing here. We need to advance the interests of the American people, certainly including consumers, but we don't need an all-powerful new czar in Washington to do it which can hurt everyone, including consumers."

Senator Brown-OH: (10:23 PM)
  • Spoke in favor of Cordray nomination.
    • SUMMARY "Now they're saying they won't approve anyone as the director of the Consumer Bureau unless we change the bureau. We're going to not allow a director to be in place unless we can weaken this agency. Senator Reed from Rhode Island said, would we not appoint a director of the Food and Drug Administration in the future until we rolled back all food safety laws? Are we not going to protect a consumer products bureau in the government, in the Department of Commerce until we roll back child toy safety laws? I mean that makes no sense."