WSJ: Biden Eyes Cordray for Top Fed Banking Regulator Post

President Joe Biden is reportedly considering Richard Cordray, former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director and current head of the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid, to serve as the Federal Reserve’s top banking regulator. This is according to a report published on Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the WSJ report describes that Cordray would be “the government’s most influential overseer of the American banking system” if confirmed for the post by the U.S. Senate, a body only narrowly controlled by Democrats due to tie-breaking capability by Vice President Kamala Harris. If confirmed, Cordray would succeed Randal Quarles as the Fed’s vice chairman of banking supervision.

Both Cordray himself and the White House declined to comment to WSJ on the matter, though the White House specified that announcements regarding Fed appointments would be made sometime in early December.

The nomination is characterized by WSJ as one which has the potential to “hearten” the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and Cordray’s name has apparently been pushed for this role in private by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) according to the report, herself an architect of the CFPB.

“Without citing a specific candidate, Ms. Warren said in a brief interview Monday that the Fed job should go to ‘someone who has the insight to recognize how important regulation is to the effective functioning of the financial markets and has the courage to follow through on that insight,’” according to WSJ.

In the original July 2013 Senate confirmation vote that saw Cordray ascend to the CFPB director position, he was confirmed in a vote of 66-34. Four Republicans who still serve in the Senate today voted with Democrats to confirm his nomination. However, during that period the Senate was controlled by Democrats 53-47. Comparatively, the Biden administration faces more prominent headwinds related to Senate confirmations due to the far narrower majority.

Cordray, who served as the CFPB’s inaugural director from 2012-2017, served roughly 10 months into the administration of President Donald Trump before resigning from his post, which sparked a contentious legal battle over who would succeed him at the agency. Cordray also revealed that he believes he was nearly fired by Trump after receiving impromptu notice of a previously-unscheduled phone call, which itself was abruptly canceled before ever taking place.

Recently, President Biden nominated Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to continue to serve in his post, a decision which earned bipartisan support.

Read the report at WSJ, subscription required.

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