Hopefully, it is not an ominous sign of things to come.
Last week, the Senate confirmed former Kentucky insurance regulator S. Roy Woodall for the one voting position on the federal Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) reserved for someone with insurance expertise. The term is for six years. The FSOC is in charge of monitoring the financial system to guard against the failure of the largest bank holding companies and non-bank financial institutions.
For the past year, Republicans in the House and Senate have worked together to prevent the approval of numerous president appointments both through regular order and through the use of recess appointment authority. By keeping the House from adjourning when vacation and breaks come, the president has been unable to exercise his power thus sparing the nation from another round of liberal appointments that can do great damage to the country.
Because the confirmation process is often one of compromise and deal making, some worry about the possibility of a deal involving Richard Cordray and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Especially in light of the fact that the Senate Banking Committee has called a vote on the Cordray confirmation itself this Thursday, October 6. Sources in the nation’s Capitol have told Big Government that liberal Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is pressuring Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to break the logjam, as Cordray is from Ohio.
And as a way of generating media coverage and paving the way for Thursday’s vote, today the committee is holding a hearing on “Consumer Protection and Middle Class Wealth Building in an Age of Growing Household Debt.” Predictably, today’s hearing is sure to use handpicked worst case scenarios, false statistics and hyperbolic testimony to attempt to build up a need for the super powerful CFPB to be up and running and empowered to run to the rescue of American consumers. This hearing is clearly aimed at deflecting attention from the larger structural issues at CFPB- like the lack of any accountability or oversight–and putting pressure on Republican senators to break.
44 Senate Republicans led by Sen. Richard Shelby, have signed a letter pledging that they will refuse to confirm any director of the CFPB unless checks and balances on the Bureau’s power are put into place. They are right and it would be a travesty if the Republican leadership undercut Shelby’s principled opposition to the Bureau. The impact on the economy would be devastating and Republicans would share the blame.