WASHINGTON — Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., released a statement Monday downplaying an earlier media report that suggested the lawmaker is "angling to broker a compromise" with President Obama over the confirmation of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The GOP renewed its push for several key changes at the consumer agency, including replacing the single director with a five-person commission, subjecting the bureau to the appropriations process, and giving other regulators more power to overrule its decisions, in the wake of a controversial court ruling last month that called into question the validity Cordray's recess appointment last year. Obama re-nominated Cordray to the position ahead of the court decision.
In response to the story by Politico, Corker said that while he passed along some suggestions to officials at the Treasury Department and the White House, the president has yet to signal willingness to compromise on Republicans' demands. He pointed as an example to the Federal Housing Administration's Carol Galante, who agreed to make certain changes to the agency late last year, smoothing the way for her confirmation as its head.
"I made some suggestions to people at Treasury and the White House as to how they might go about resolving this issue and getting Richard Cordray confirmed," said Corker, a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, in the statement. "We actually had some success in a similar situation with Carol Galante at the FHA, and there seemed to be an opportunity to do something along those lines here as well. But at this point, the ball is entirely in the White House's court."
He added: "By making some modest and reasonable changes to the structure of the CFPB, I think we could have a strong Senate vote confirming Cordray as leader of the organization. But that will require the White House showing a willingness to move the process forward."
A group of 43 Senate Republicans sent a letter to the White House earlier this month vowing to block Cordray's confirmation unless the Obama administration agreed to the GOP's proposed structural changes. Corker and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio were the only Republicans that didn't sign the letter.