On a party-line vote, the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday narrowly voted to confirm Richard Cordray for a full term as head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but Republicans still stand in the way of final Senate approval.
Mr. Cordray, who was first appointed to the post by President Obama in a recess appointment, won committee approval in a tight 12-10 vote.
The Senate committee also approved former New York U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White to head the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
But Mr. Cordray’s appointment could still face resistance on the Senate floor, with Republicans objecting to the structure and funding of the agency established in Mr. Obama’s 2010 financial regulation law.
While saying they do not object to Mr. Cordray’s work at the CFPB, Senate Republicans have criticized the agency’s structure, which calls for a single leader, rather than a board of directors. Critics are also demanding more financial accountability from the consumer watchdog agency. Mr. Cordray’s position is already under a cloud after a federal court ruling raised questions on the validity of Mr. Obama’s recess appointments.
“It’s critical that we put partisan politics aside and confirm Rich Cordray,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio Democrat, said last week during a Senate hearing to discuss Mr. Corday’s nomination. “Consumers deserve a bureau with a confirmed director who can serve as a counterbalance to the Wall Street lobby.”