Consumer's choice: GOP senators must end the roadblock to Cordray

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Last week, a Senate committee approved the nomination of Richard Cordray to head the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Now the full Senate -- and especially its obstructionist GOP minority -- needs to stop its partisan games and confirm Mr. Cordray for the permanent post.

Mr. Cordray has headed the bureau on an interim basis, as a recess appointee of President Barack Obama, since 2011. The Senate banking committee voted 12-10 last Tuesday, along party lines, to give him the permanent job.

The partisan fight on the Senate floor will not be over Mr. Cordray, his qualifications or the job he has been doing. No one disputes that the former Ohio attorney general is well qualified; Republicans concede he has been fair and effective in his role.

The battle is over the bureau itself. Republicans think its powers are too sweeping. They don't want it to be an independent agency. Basically, they dislike its scope of activities -- protecting people from credit card fraud, unscrupulous home mortgages and usurious student loans. Most Americans think that's worth doing.

Some 40 Senate Republicans warn they will block Mr. Cordray's nomination, by filibuster or its threat, because they object to the nature of the bureau. They could try to amend the Dodd-Frank financial reform law to remake the agency, but they don't have the votes for that so they are taking it out on Mr. Cordray. Obstruction is easier than legislating.

Democrats hold 55 of the 100 Senate seats. They need to push for a vote on an able, decent public servant. They need to insist that Senate nominations will be about qualifications, a fair process and majority rule -- not ideological or personal agendas.

They need to insist on a vote, up or down. Republicans can vote no if they wish. Obstructing Mr. Cordray has no merit. It's time for every senator to stand up and be counted.

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