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Senate closes in on vote to confirm Chopra as CFPB director

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday he planned to bring Rohit Chopra’s nomination to serve as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to the Senate floor, eight months after the White House tapped him to run the agency.

In remarks on the Senate floor, the Democrat from New York called Chopra “the right man to lead this agency after it languished under the presidency of Donald Trump.”

“Mr. Chopra has a long history of defending student loan borrowers from unscrupulous for-profit colleges, and already served in the CFPB under President Obama, where he was defending the rights of middle-class people who might be taken advantage of by rapacious institutions,” Schumer said. “He has the experience, he has the dedication and he will have the support of Senate Democrats when his nomination is brought to the floor this afternoon or later this week.”

Chopra, a former student loan ombudsman at the CFPB and current member of the Federal Trade Commission, underwent a hearing in the Senate Banking Committee to examine his nomination March 2 alongside Gary Gensler, who has since been confirmed as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Rohit Chopra, a former student loan ombudsman at the CFPB and current member of the Federal Trade Commission, underwent a hearing in the Senate Banking Committee to examine his nomination.

Bloomberg News

But the committee was ultimately split on Chopra’s nomination, with the vote tied 12-12 to advance his nomination. That tie required extra procedural votes, ultimately holding up Chopra’s confirmation.

Schumer said he would move Tuesday to file a discharge petition to move Chopra’s nomination out of the Senate Banking Committee and onto the Senate floor, moving Chopra one step closer to leading the CFPB.

Schumer blamed the delay of Chora’s confirmation as well as the confirmation for “a number of noncontroversial nominees” on Senate Republicans, who he said were obstructing the process.

“Last week, a number of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle announced they will seek to delay these nominees for no other reason than to score cheap political points in an effort to win fans on the far right,” Schumer said.

Once Chopra arrives at the CFPB, many expect he will announce a few large-scale initiatives including potentially reopening the small-dollar payday lending rule, proposing changes to the debt collection rule that is set to take effect Nov. 30, and initiating a larger participant rule for fintech installment lenders.

Chopra will inherit an already packed rulemaking agenda with a small-business data collection proposal released this month and a final rule on standards for how fintechs access consumer bank account data expected by year-end. Dave Uejio is currently leading the agency on an acting basis, but analysts say he is likely leaving the biggest policy decisions for Chopra to resolve.


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