Senate moves on Cordray consumer agency confirmation
The Senate voted Tuesday to move toward confirmation of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ending a months-long standoff.
Cordray would be the first confirmed director of the consumer bureau, which was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, if he receives final approval.
A full Senate vote on Cordray could come later Tuesday and he is expected to easily receive enough support.
Senate Republicans had refused for months to confirm any director because of concerns about the structure of the new agency, which oversees mortgages, credit cards and other consumer-oriented financial products.
They wanted the consumer bureau to be run by a bipartisan board rather than by a single director and said funding should go through the congressional appropriations process instead of the Federal Reserve.
Democrats threatened to change Senate rules for confirmations if Republicans did not allow them to move forward with consideration of Cordray's nomination.
On Tuesday, 71 senators voted to end debate and move to a final vote for Cordray, passing the 60-vote threshold needed to avert a filibuster.
"After more than 700 days of waiting, Rich Cordray will finally get the confirmation vote he deserves from the U.S. Senate," Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in a statement.
Warren set up the consumer agency before running for Senate as a Massachusetts Democrat.
The consumer bureau, which opened in 2011, has been controversial since its creation. Besides concerns about how it is set up, the bureau's opponents say it has too much authority to crack down on an array of financial products.
(Read more: Senate 'nuclear' brinkmanship heads toward showdown)
After Republicans refused to confirm a director, President Barack Obama appointed Cordray to a temporary position in January 2012. Obama used a controversial method known as a "recess appointment" to avoid Senate confirmation.
Obama's use of that method to make other recess appointments has since come under legal challenge. Cordray was not directly involved in those lawsuits, but legal experts have said confirming him to a full term would help clear up some of the confusion surrounding his tenure.