Senate Republicans could not have sent a louder message that they have no interest in appealing to middle class voters on Thursday. After a long-awaited vote for confirmation, Senate Republicans blocked the confirmation of former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Fifty three senators voted to confirm Cordray, but 45, all Republicans, opposed the nomination. In the end only Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) broke ranks to support Cordray.
The administration responded by making it clear a recess appointment remained a possibility, especially because, as Republicans themselves admit, the vote was only about trying to kill the agency in its entirety.
Cordray, of course, was not the administration’s first choice to lead the agency. Elizabeth Warren was. But Warren’s record of speaking truth to Wall Street power combined with a Wall Street-entrenched presence in the Republican party made her confirmation impossible. Cordray was seen as confirmable-yet-tough. The fact that Republicans opposed this appointment demonstrates just how against consumer protection measures they really are.
It is also a good reminder of how radicalized the Republican party has become. No minority party in the Senate, prior to this vote, has decided to bring an agency to a halt by refusing to allow any votes on any nominee to run it.
Democrats have been urging President Obama to move toward recess appointments since Republicans adopted the filibuster against all executive nominations as part of doing business in Washington. Perhaps now, as he’s faced with the most radical and destructive Senate in history, President Obama will finally move in that direction.
Photo from ProgressOhio via flickr.