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Senate GOP agrees to stop stalling consumer chief nomination

WASHINGTON – The Senate voted Tuesday morning to end a two-year Republican blockade that was preventing Richard Cordray from winning confirmation as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Tuesday’s 71-29 vote came minutes after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he and GOP leaders were working toward a deal aimed at freeing up seven stalled appointments President Barack Obama has made to the consumer agency, the National Labor Relations Board and other agencies.

Both senators from Indiana – Republican Dan Coats and Democrat Joe Donnelly – favored advancing Cordray’s nomination to limited floor debate and a vote. Coats was among 17 Republicans to support the measure.

Obama had used a recess appointment to put Cordray in charge of the agency, an appointment that expires in January. Republicans had solidly opposed Cordray’s nomination, demanding that Obama first agree to change the agency’s financing and structure.

The consumer bureau was created by the 2010 law that overhauled federal financial regulatory powers following the Great Recession.

Journal Gazette Washington editor Brian Francisco contributed to this story.

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