WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans carried on their attack on a new U.S. financial consumer watchdog agency on Wednesday, while two more names surfaced as possible Obama administration nominees to head the agency.
President Barack Obama has not yet recommended a director for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau being set up under last year’s Dodd-Frank Wall Street and banking reforms, the White House said.
A source aware of the process told Reuters on Tuesday the White House is considering Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Raskin and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to run the CFPB, set to open in July.
The source did not say whether other candidates in addition to Raskin and Granholm were under consideration.
“The president is considering a number of candidates for the position of director, but no decisions have been made,” said White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage.
Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, an outspoken consumer advocate, is serving as an adviser to Obama and the U.S. Treasury Department to help set up the new agency.
She has long been considered a potential nominee to be director, but she has also been controversial and might have trouble winning Senate confirmation.
The agency will police mortgages and credit cards and try to curb predatory lending and abusive card accounts.
Republicans and bank lobbyists who opposed the creation of the CFPB last year have been pushing recently on several fronts to restrain its power since they won control of the House of Representatives in November.
At a House committee hearing on Wednesday, Republican Representative Shelley Moore Capito endorsed legislation to change the CFPB’s leadership from a director to a five-member commission.
“The powers of the bureau are simply too broad for a single director,” she said.
Republicans also want to put the bureau’s funding through the politically charged congressional appropriations process, instead of keeping its funding independent.
“Let’s be clear, the House Republicans’ attacks on the Wall Street Reform law have nothing to do with cutting the budget ... and everything to do with gutting consumer and investor protections,” said Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, in a statement on Dodd-Frank and criticisms of it from House budget hawks.
Reporting by Kevin Drawbaugh, Alister Bull and Mark Felsenthal; editing by Andre Grenon