November 3rd, 2011
03:29 PM ET
The White House is again pressuring Republicans in the Senate to support the nomination of Richard Cordray as head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The latest pressure point: military families. In a conference call with reporters, White House officials cited the importance of the CFPB in the lives of service members to protect them from predatory lenders, certain types of installment loans and debt collectors who often harass service members during active duty.
Pegging this latest push to today’s testimony before the Senate banking committee by Holly Petraeus – head of Servicemember Affairs at the CFPB – representatives from the Treasury Department, the National Economic Council and the Executive Office of the President explained why the CFPB’s ability to help military families was effectively neutered by not having a director.
"The way the statute works, until such time as the CFPB gets a director it will not have the authority to supervise and enforce all these various consumer protection laws, with respect to payday lenders, debt collectors, etcetera, etcetera, the kinds of firms that we're talking about…that are preying on military families,” said Deputy Treasury Secretary Neil Wolin.
Cordray’s nomination recently passed out of the banking committee on a party-line vote, with all 10 Republican members voting in opposition, and Senate Republicans have vowed to block his nomination if it ever comes to the floor. On today’s call Stephanie Cutter – a deputy senior advisor to President Obama – used Mrs. Petraeus’ testimony as proof that military families are hurt by such Republican opposition.
Citing a specific question from Republican Sen. Richard Shelby about whether the CFPB had enough resources to do its job, Cutter quoted Mrs. Petraeus as saying that while the resources are there to the job, “they're not able to actually do the work.” FULL POST
October 14th, 2011
07:55 PM ET
Congress isn’t getting a glimpse of what’s on President Obama’s Blackberry – or any more internal White House communications related to the controversial federal loan guarantee to the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra.
The House Republicans investigating the loan controversy had requested all internal White House documents about the issue, and the chairman of the relevant oversight and investigations subcommittee, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), had said that their request included e-mails on the President’s Blackberry. Today the White House counsel sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee explaining that they won’t comply with the request because it “implicates longstanding and significant institutional Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”
Given past administrations’ refusal to comply with similar congressional requests, the response is hardly a surprise. What’s the difference this time? FULL POST