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GOP, Democrats in Showdown Mode on Richard Cordray Nomination

The Senate is set to vote Thursday on whether to consider the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as Democrats continue their populist push.

“We have to fight efforts to dismantle the first agency put together to look out for consumers,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who runs the Senate Democrats’ policy and communications operations, said at a briefing today.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said, “Tomorrow we will have a vote. Voting for Richard Cordray means you’re on the side of people on Main Street. Voting against him means you are on the side of Wall Street.”

Their comments come as the White House also has embarked on a media blitz in seven states pushing for Cordray’s nomination.

But most Republicans are unlikely to vote for cloture on Cordray’s nomination, likely leaving Democrats short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate. Democrats control 53 votes in the Senate.

At least one Republican, Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.), has come out in support of Cordray. However, 44 of the 47 GOP Senators earlier this year sent a letter to President Barack Obama expressing their concern over the CFPB director’s authority.

Senate Republicans dismiss Democratic efforts to paint them as anti-consumer and anti-middle-class as election-year politicking. They maintain Democrats have not reached out on GOP concerns with the agency.

“I understand through press reports that the president plans to make a big push for his nominee to the CFPB,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a floor speech Tuesday. “But let me tell you something the president hasn’t done when it comes to this position: In the seven months since 44 Republicans sent the president a letter outlining some very serious and very reasonable concerns about it, he hasn’t done a thing to address these concerns — not a thing.”

“If he’s picked up the phone to talk these issues over with anybody in our Conference, I haven’t heard about it,” McConnell continued.

Republicans believe the CFPB should be set up like other financial regulators, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Republicans also cite their concern that the CFPB should be funded through the appropriations process, which would give Congress more input over the agency. Currently, the CFPB is funded through the Federal Reserve System.

But Democrats argue that those decisions were made last year when the Dodd-Frank financial regulation measure was debated and signed into law and that it goes against the will of Congress — and tradition — to hold up the confirmation of a director.

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