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Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker on Wednesday joined a major White House push for the Senate to confirm the head of a new agency aimed at cracking down on financial abuses.
Shurtleff is set to appear at the White House Tuesday afternoon with three other attorneys general to argue that senators should confirm Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, an agency created out of the Wall Street reform legislation after the economic meltdown of 2008.
The Utah Republican has been one of Cordray's strongest advocates, saying that despite Shurtleff's own concerns with the structure of the CFPB, he believes Cordray is perfectly suited and well experienced to serve as director.
"I'm always concerned with how agencies act and sometimes if they are empowered or get certain directors in place you worry that rather than just focusing on bad actors and trying to get a certain level playing field, they sometimes get overaggressive across the board," Shurtleff said during a recent call organized by the White House. "I don't see that happening at all with Richard Cordray."
Becker is set to join a separate call today to lay out the importance of filling the director's position.
"Richard Cordray is eminently qualified to head-up the CFPB and deserves the support of our federal congressional delegation," Becker says. "The sooner this directorship is filled, the sooner all our citizens can reap the benefits of responsible and appropriate monitoring and mandated accountability of non-bank financial institutions."
Once confirmed, the director of the new agency would be able to launch oversight of several services that consumers rely on, including credit monitoring agencies, payday loan lenders and mortgage brokers.
Utah's two senators, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, say they don't oppose Cordray personally but plan to block his confirmation because they believe the new agency will stifle economic growth and hurt consumers' choices. Hatch and Lee appeared at an event on Tuesday with several colleagues to show support for holding up Cordray's nomination.
The Senate is expected to vote Thursday on Cordray's nomination.
On a side note, Shurtleff is getting a bonus for flying out to Washington to draw attention to his support for Cordray: The Utahn is slated to hit a White House Christmas party on Friday. Thomas BurrTwitter.com/thomaswburr