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Wednesday November 16, 2011 | 12:54 PM

 

Sen. Susan Collins is going to meet Nov. 28 with Richard Cordray, President Obama’s nominee to lead the recently formed consumer protection bureau, but the Maine Republican is giving no indication she is prepared to break with her party and support the former Ohio attorney general.

“I am going to meet with him (Cordray) next week for the first time, but I am concerned that the Obama administration has yet to take any steps whatsoever to respond to concerns that many of us have about the structure of the new bureau,” Collins told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday. “It is absolutely unacceptable that Congress has no ability to control the budget of the bureau. I think the administration needs to step forward and at least compromise on some of these issues.”

Collins and GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe were among 44 Republicans who have signed a letter saying they would block any nominee for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created by the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul legislation.

Republicans complain that the bureau isn’t accountable enough to lawmakers and wields too much authority over how financial products like mortgages and credit cards are packaged and sold to consumers by private businesses.

(Updated as of Thursday at 3 p.m.: Snowe has not changed her position since signing the GOP senators’ letter, according to Snowe's office. Snowe as of today does not have a meeting scheduled with Cordray.)

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., announced this week he will support Cordray’s nomination, but that still leaves more than enough Republicans to keep Cordray from obtaining the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster and receive a final nomination vote. Brown is being challenged by Democrat Elizabeth Warren, a proponent of financial reform who helped create the consumer protection bureau that Obama now wants Cordray to lead as director. Cordray, nominated in July, is the bureau’s enforcement head now, a position that doesn’t require Senate confirmation. The bureau is meant to protect consumers from financial products judged to be overly risky.

 

 

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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