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Dec. 7, 2011

Vote on Cordray Will Test Who Supports Main Street and the 99 Percent

Statement by Bartlett Naylor, Financial Policy Advocate, Public Citizen

With tomorrow’s historic Senate vote on the nomination of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), senators face a clear question of allegiance: Main Street or Wall Street. The 99 percent or the 1 percent. The real economy or the bonus-bloated banking gamblers. Congress created the CFPB to combat “unfair, deceptive and abusive” lending practices. Senators supporting Wall Street are holding the nomination of the CFPB director hostage, insisting that the agency first be defunded and weakened. Widespread public support for a strong agency from the White House, to mayors, state attorneys general, hundreds of community organizations and even responsible bankers highlights the gravity of this vote. With the American economy struggling from banking abuses, senators cannot be excused for voting with Wall Street to raise campaign contributions.

If Wall Street-backed Republican senators block the nomination, then President Barack Obama should appoint Cordray during the next Senate recess. House Republicans are purporting to hold the Senate open indefinitely to block a recess appointment, but they cannot do so without the president’s acquiescence.

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