President Obama continued the White House's push to confirm Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in a speech in Kansas Tuesday.
Speaking before an audience at the Osawatomie High School, Obama championed last year's passage of the Dodd-Frank Act and portrayed opposition by congressional Republicans as a major hurdle to implementing the act's key provisions. He gave as an example the case of Cordray, whose confirmation most Senate Republicans have vowed to block unless organizational changes are made to the bureau.
"For the first time in history, the reforms that we passed put in place a consumer watchdog who is charged with protecting everyday Americans from being taken advantage of by mortgage lenders or payday lenders or debt collectors," Obama said of the CFPB. "And the man we nominated for the post, Richard Cordray, is a former attorney general of Ohio who has the support of most attorney generals, both Democrat and Republican, throughout the country."
In describing Republicans' refusal to confirm Cordray, Obama asked the audience, "Does anybody here think that the problem that led to our financial crisis was too much oversight of mortgage lenders or debt collectors?"
"No!" the crowd responded, according to a transcript posted on the White House's website.
"Every day we go without a consumer watchdog is another day when a student, or a senior citizen, or a member of our Armed Forces – because they are very vulnerable to some of this stuff – could be tricked into a loan that they can't afford – something that happens all the time," Obama said. "And the fact is that financial institutions have plenty of lobbyists looking out for their interests. Consumers deserve to have someone whose job it is to look out for them."