Senate Democrats want Richard Cordray nominated to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director post, and they're willing to block all Republican filibuster attempts to secure his seat.
Senate Majority Leader Larry Harry Reid, D-NV, is considering a change to Senate rules that would push the 60-vote threshold currently needed to end a filibuster down to 51 votes, analysts with Compass Point Research & Trading Group said in a new report.
With Republicans concerned about the structure of the CFPB, it has long been assumed a filibuster attempt would surface during the voting process.
HousingWire reached out to the CFPB, which declined to comment.
While market experts are not concerned that Cordray will have the 60 votes necessary to win confirmation under the current Senate rules, the nomination is directly tied to the Senate filibuster debate, which will come to a head in the immediate future.
"If Senate Democrats embrace a rule change to the filibuster of non-judicial nominees, then we expected Richard Cordray to be confirmed by simple majority votes," said Isaac Boltansky, an analyst for Compass Point.
Filibusters have been a part of the Senate’s make up, providing the minority leverage to force majority compromises.
Thus, Reid indicated his caucus may embrace the "nuclear option" — a procedural maneuver to change the Senate rules and ultimately weaken the Senate Republicans’ filibuster power relating to the consideration of the president’s non-judicial nominees—a list that includes Cordray.
Democrats currently hold 52 seats in the Senate and are usually joined by the two independents. If the rules of the script were flipped for non-judicial nominees, Senate Democrats will have the votes necessary to advance the vast majority of the non-judicial nominations, Compass Point explains.
"We are inclined to believe that Senate leaders will ultimately broker a deal to avoid the 'nuclear option' just as they have done repeatedly in the past," Boltansky explained.
He added, "Furthermore, we believe that part of Sen. Reid’s political calculus had to be impacted by the news that former Montana Governor Schweitzer – a leading Democrat in Montana – would not run to replace retiring Sen. Baucus (D-MT)."
While the decision regarding whether Senate Democrats will embrace the "nuclear option" will be made behind closed doors Monday evening, the likelihood of a rule change impacting non-judicial nominations stands at "even money," Compass Point advised.
Overall, if Senate Democrats embrace a rule change to the filibuster of non-judicial nominees, then the likelihood of Cordray being confirmed by a simple majority of the votes is high.