America

Obama's Choice To Head Consumer Protection Agency Blocked

A vote to move forward on the nomination of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to run the new federal consumer protection agency fell seven votes short in the Senate this morning. Republicans banded together to make sure there weren't the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture and move on to a vote on the nomination itself.

The GOP senators, as NPR's Andrea Seabrook has reported, say the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been made too strong. They "want to change the way the protection bureau would work," Andrea reported. "Instead of one director, they want a board to oversee it, and they're ready to filibuster if they don't get their way."

President Obama just said that the bureau is part of an effort to "ensure that there's fair play out there."

"Consumers across the country understand that part of the reason we got into the financial mess we did was because regulators were not doing their jobs," the president said. "There is no reason Mr. Cordray should not be confirmed."

The president vowed that "we are going to keep on pushing on this issue."

Update at 11:50 a.m. ET. Recess Appointment Possible:

Asked if he might use a "recess appointment" to put Cordray in the job while Congress is off for its holiday break, the president said he would not take such an option off the table.

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