Elizabeth Warren, whom President Barack Obama credited with the “idea” for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and who has unofficially led the bureau since its creation, was not nominated to lead it officially. Instead, Obama chose former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray.
“On Thursday, the CFPB makes its transition from a start-up to a real, live agency with the authority to write rules and to supervise the activities of America’s largest banks,” Warren wrote for the White House blog. “Rich is smart, he is tough, and he will make a stellar Director. I am very pleased for him and very pleased for the CFPB.”
In his speech introducing Cordray as his nominee, Obama began with gushing praise for Warren, who had previously been the obvious choice to lead the CFPB.
“For years, the job of protecting consumers was divided up in a lot of different agencies… And we changed that. We cut the bureaucracy and put one consumer watchdog in charge, with just one job: looking out for regular people in the financial system. Now, this is an idea that I got from Elizabeth Warren, who I first met years ago,” Obama said. “I asked Elizabeth Warren to set up this new bureau. Over the past year she has done an extraordinary job… And as part of her charge, I asked Elizabeth to find the best possible choice for director of the bureau.”
Cordray has been serving as the head of the CFPB’s enforcement division. There has been widespread speculation that Warren’s passing-over was the result of significant opposition to her, personally, from Republican leadership. In today’s press briefing from White House press Secretary Jay Carney, one reporter asked if Warren was not chosen because there was no way the Senate would approve her.
“In May, forty-four Republican Senators wrote a letter saying that they will block anyone from serving as CFPB Director. Many of them don’t like the agency or the ideas that led to its creation,” Warren’s blog read. “Without a Director, however, the agency’s authority over payday lenders, debt collectors and other non-bank financial companies can be challenged… The agency has stepped out in the right direction. The work is good. But this agency needs to have its full powers right now, and that means we need Rich in place as Director.”