Aponte remains a priority for the White House and Reid, who intends to try to bring her nomination back to the floor this year after securing the 60 votes needed to cut off debate, according to Democratic aides. Democrats hope to enlist the help of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to help round up votes for Aponte but are wary of his ability to influence his colleagues after initially opposing her, the aides have said.
Rubio opposed Aponte’s nomination over concerns with the administration’s posture regarding anti-democratic currents in Nicaragua. He now no longer opposes Aponte after the administration agreed to take a tougher stance.
Still, Sen. Jim DeMint is leading opposition to Aponte’s nomination. The South Carolina Republican is concerned by an op-ed Aponte wrote in El Diario de Hoy that he believes was pro-gay and anti-family. DeMint also charged that she had a relationship with a man targeted as part of an FBI counterintelligence investigation and allegedly worked for Cuba’s spy agency.
Cordray’s nomination fell over Republican opposition to how the CFPB was set up. GOP Senators contend that the director has too much power and have demanded changes before they will allow any nominee for director to move forward.
They prefer a board to run the CFPB, like the five-member board that runs the Securities and Exchange Commission. Republicans also cite their concern that the CFPB should be funded through the appropriations process, which would give Congress more input over the agency. Currently, the CFPB is funded through the Federal Reserve System. Finally, they want to allow other financial regulators to provide a check on CFPB rules so they don’t imperil the health of financial institutions and lead to unnecessary bank failures.
Democrats argued that not allowing the CFPB to have a chief prevents it from fulfilling its consumer protection mission and leaves millions of consumers at risk of falling prey to unscrupulous financial companies.
This year also marked the first two filibusters of judges since a 2005 bipartisan agreement by the “gang of 14” that preserved the right to filibuster judicial nominees under “extraordinary” circumstances.
In December, Republicans blocked Halligan with some invoking the extraordinary circumstances clause of the gang of 14 agreement. They argued whether the vacancy even needs to be filled, an argument Republicans said Democrats used when President George W. Bush sought to fill the spot.
The slot that Halligan was nominated for, to replace Chief Justice John Roberts, has been vacant for years.
Democrats charged that the opposition to Halligan could threaten future nominees and questioned whether the 2005 agreement is still in effect.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.