Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese, spoke with Consumerist today during a conference call where he stressed the importance of Richard Cordray’s confirmation as director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a confirmation that was blocked earlier today by Senate Republicans.
Deese said that the GOP’s actions today were unfortunate, and will ultimately be to the detriment of consumers. Because without a director to helm the bureau’s efforts, it can’t exercise its full authority, particularly in dealings with non-bank financial institutions,
“First and foremost this means that the American consumer and the American people will go for another day where they don’t have the types of protection against unfair, deceptive and non-transparent and financial practices in their financial dealings,” said Deese.
Consumerist asked what the next step would be, now that today’s filibuster has prevented the vote on Cordray’s confirmation, and whether or not President Obama can go forward and confirm the former Ohio Attorney General himself while Congress isn’t in session.
“I would just point back to what the President said — we’re going to look at all our options, we’re not going to take any options off the table,” said Deese. “Our hope is that those Republicans that stood in the way of Richard Cordray being nominated will reassess that position, and we’re not gonna let up in taking the case to the American people, that they [Republicans] are not in the right place, they are not where consumers are on this issue and frankly they’re not where the financial system is either.”
He stressed that this confirmation is not about changing a law — the existence of the CPFB was passed into law last year — rather, it’s about making good on that law. Just as banks are regulated, says Deese, non-bank financial institutions should be held accountable and supervised as well, to level the playing field.
“All of those who stood in the way, answer this — who exactly are you protecting? It’s not consumers, it’s not financial institutions.”