Even though the White House didn't appoint Elizabeth Warren to the position, Senate Republicans stand ready to filibuster President Obama's nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray.
And it's not because of Cordray's qualifications or ideology. Rather, it's because Republicans want to reform a law they didn't support in the first place.
"I would remind [Obama] that Senate Republicans still aren't interested in approving anyone to the position until the president agrees to make this massive new government bureaucracy more accountable and transparent to the American people," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor today.
McConnell added, "On May 5 of this year, 44 Republican senators signed a letter to the president stating that `we will not support the consideration of any nominee, regardless of party affiliation, to be the CFPB director until the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is reformed.'"
But if Senate Republicans simply want to reform to the bureau, why didn't they try to work with the Obama White House -- by being willing to vote for the legislation that was going to pass -- on changing the law? Instead, every Republican (save for Scott Brown, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe) voted against the financial-reform legislation that created the bureau. It's a question that conservative commentator David Frum raised after passage of last year's health-care law.
At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo.
Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.
Yet Senate Republicans argue that Democrats would have never made a deal to tinker with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
"Democrats had 59 votes in the Senate and didn’t have to or want to work with us on this," McConnell spokesman Don Stewart tells First Read. "And the two things we’ve asked for (a board like the other bureaus/agencies have; accountability to Congress like others have) are non-starters -- even today."
During the health-care debate, Stewart adds, Democrats "didn’t need or want us, and any changes we got would have been minor. Same with [the financial-reform legislation]. They voted down all of our proposals that could have drawn Republican votes because they didn’t ... need us."