Chopra Moves Closer to CFPB Confirmation; Dems Introduce Whistleblower Bill

Rohit Chopra came one step closer to being confirmed as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Tuesday evening.

The Senate voted 49-48 on a party-line vote to discharge Chopra’s nomination from the Senate Banking Committee. The vote was necessary because the Banking Committee earlier this year deadlocked 12-12 on the nomination.

Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, urged his colleagues to support Chopra. “Americans need someone at the helm of the CFPB who is ready to stand up to the biggest banks and the most powerful corporations in order to protect consumers,” he said. “Rohit Chopra has the expertise and track record to lead an agency dedicated to protecting working families and all consumers,”

Chopra’s nomination has been controversial, since he has made it clear that he intends to return the CFPB to a strict regulatory regime—something that Republicans oppose.

Chopra is a member of the Federal Trade Commission. President Biden earlier this month nominated Alvaro Bedoya to replace Chopra on the commission. Dave Uejio has served as acting CFPB Director; he has been nominated as an assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The vote came on the same day that Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., introduced legislation to establish a whistleblower program at the CFPB. The legislation would allow the agency to reward whistleblowers from the Civil Penalty Fund between 10% and 30% of a particular reward settlement.

“Whistleblowers play a vital role in protecting consumers from exploitation, risking their careers and livelihoods to report corrupt and unethical business practices,” Cortez Masto said, as she introduced the legislation.

Brown is a cosponsor of the bill.

“Whistleblowers risk their career and their reputation to reveal corruption and bad actors seeking to exploit consumers and our government.,” Brown said. “We must do more to protect them during and after the pandemic to ensure that whistleblowers feel safe coming forward. This legislation does just that by protecting whistleblowers from retaliation and incentivizing them to come forward with their information.”

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