Former Ohio AG Cordray Confirmed To Head Consumer Agency

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UPDATED: Tuesday July 16, 2013 5:54 PM

A familiar name in Ohio politics was front-and-center in a Washington political battle.

After the drama ended, Richard Cordray was confirmed to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Late Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Cordray on a 66 to 34 vote.  Cordray had been handling the bureau in a temporary position since his nomination in January, 2012.

"Rich Cordray's confirmation is good for the agency and those they regulate," said Republican Sen. Rob Portman.  "I'm pleased with the result today.  It was not the 51 majority that Harry Reid had threatened.  It's a strong signal that helps the agency and Rich Cordary to be a more effective director."

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said that Cordray had earned respect from both sides of the political Isle.

“Today is a great day for Rich and his family and the Bureau,” said Brown.  “But we must remain vigilant and ensure that Wall Street and its allies in Congress never undermine the authority and effectiveness of this vital agency.”

The vote occurred after senators reached a tentative deal to avert the "nuclear option" on filibuster rules.

Under the proposal, President Obama would pull two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board and replace them with other nominees.

Portman had spent months trying to negotiate a compromise for Cordray's nomination.  In the end, Portman says the GOP conceded on their demands for changes to the structure of the CFPB.

"We'll continue to promote those reforms, but there were other members in the senate who felt strongly the other way," said Portman.  "The nuclear option threat changed the dynamics."

Portman says Republican Sen. John McCain was instrumental in preventing the nuclear option from being implemented.

Ohio AFL-CIO president Tim Burga complained Cordray’s nomination had been in limbo for 730 days.

“I know Richard Cordray and can attest that he will continue to be an able watchdog for the American people, as he and his agency can now, without distraction, get about the business of protecting consumers,” said Burga.  “I hope these developments signal a moment in American politics where Congress has decided to put the will of the people, and the nominations of an elected president, ahead of partisan gridlock.”

The CFPB is a federal agency that regulates consumer protection - everything that affects Ohioans from banks to credit unions to payday lenders.

Cordray is now on the frontline in watching financial institutions and protecting the public from financial shenanigans.  In the past year alone the CFPB has collected millions of dollars in fines from banks and credit card companies.

The CFPB says enforcement actions have resulted in $425 million in refunds to approximately six million consumers who were subject to deceptive financial practices.

Cordray's appointment as the CFPB director takes him out of the race for Ohio governor in 2014.  He had said in late 2010 that he would like to seek the nomination for governor in 2014.

This clears the Democratic field for Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald who will face incumbent Republican governor John Kasich next year.

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