The Senate confirms Rohit Chopra at the head of the CFPB


Rohit Chopra became the third director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday, after the Senate approved his nomination by a 50-48 vote.

Chopra, who previously served on the Federal Trade Commission, has been appointed to replace Donald Trump-appointed Kathy Kraninger, who resigned in January at the request of President Joe Biden.

The confirmation ends a contentious partisan process after every Republican on the Senate Banking Committee votes against their candidacy, resulting in a tie of 12-12 on the panel. Current Senate rules allow the Senate Majority Leader to propose a motion to advance candidates when committees are deadlocked, given that Democrats and Republicans have equal representation on committees in a Senate also divided.

The very existence of the CFPB remains a partisan issue. The agency was created in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis with a mandate to establish consumer protection standards in the financial sector and to enforce the Federal Law on Consumer Finances.

Republicans have long objected to the agency being run by a single director, as opposed to a commission with representation from members of both sides. In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that a provision in the law establishing the agency, which stipulated that the director could only be removed for cause and not at the discretion of the president, was unconstitutional. .

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey objected to Chopra’s confirmation in a speech to the Senate Thursday. “I am seriously concerned that Commissioner Chopra is referring the CFPB to the lawless, overbreadth and highly politicized agency that it was under the Obama administration,” the prominent Republican told the Senate Committee on banks. “The CFPB was created by Democrats through the Dodd-Frank Act as arguably the most irresponsible agency in federal government history.”

Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, chairman of the banking panel, has expressed strong support for the nomination, saying Chopra “will be America’s voice and advocate.”

The agency was designed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who first proposed its creation while a professor at Harvard Law School in 2007. Chopra helped Warren set up the agency in 2010 and 2011 and was its first student loan mediator.

Under his leadership, the CFPB is expected to take a tough stance on student loan managers, payday lenders, and issue new rules regulating bank overdraft fees. “We sometimes don’t do enough to hold companies accountable for the harm they cause, even when it is a blatant violation of the law,” Chopra said at his confirmation hearing in March before the committee. senatorial bank.

Chopra’s confirmation leaves the FTC with a partisan 2-2 split, at least until the Senate is able to take charge of appointing privacy attorney Alvaro Bedoya to replace him.

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