By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON, (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Banking
Committee will hold a hearing on March 12 to consider the
nominations of Mary Jo White and Richard Cordray to head the
Securities and Exchange Commission and the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau, respectively.
White, a 65-year-old former federal prosecutor, was
nominated by President Barack Obama to chair the SEC earlier
this year. If confirmed, she would replace current SEC Chairman
Elisse Walter, who took over the helm of the agency in December
after Mary Schapiro stepped down.
Known for her aggressive prosecutions of terrorists and mob
bosses and her fiercely independent streak, White is not
expected to face opposition.
But little is known about her views on securities regulatory
policy, and she could face tough questions about her more recent
career as a white-collar defense attorney for Wall Street firms,
The hearing will give senators and the public for the first
time a deeper look at what kind of regulator White will be, and
whether she has the ability to help the currently divided SEC
overcome the gridlock that has made it difficult for the agency
to complete rule-writing required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall
Street reform law.
CORDRAY NOMINATION COULD BE CONTENTIOUS
The more heated portion of the hearing could be focused on
Cordray, who has been leading the CFPB under a recess
appointment that serves as a bypass to Senate confirmation.
Republicans have continued to fiercely oppose his nomination
to the CFPB amid disagreements over how the new bureau is
The CFPB is a new regulator created through Dodd-Frank that
is tasked with protecting consumers from potentially predatory
lending products, such as mortgages, credit cards and payday
Republican senators have blocked confirmation of a director
since the bureau opened in July 2011, saying it should be led by
a bipartisan board similar to the way the SEC is run, rather
than by a single director.
Obama's recess appointment of Cordray made business groups
and Republicans irate. They have argued that the move was
illegal because Congress was not technically in recess at the
time. A court ruling that struck down a similar recess
appointment has cast further legal doubt over Cordray's
With Cordray's temporary term due to expire at the end of
2013, Obama earlier this year renominated him for a longer-term
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