Senate Republicans, led by Senate Banking Committee ranking minority member Richard Shelby of Alabama, are vowing to prevent confirmation of President Obama's choice to head the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau if the chief executive refuses to accept some major reforms in the new agency.
"No accountability, no confirmation," Shelby said of Obama's plan to nominate former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray to head CFPB, the powerful new federal bureaucracy created by Obama and Democrats in the previous Congress in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, is backing the Shelby effort, according to UPI, and if all 44 Senate GOPers stick together on the issue, they can deny Cordray's confirmation. The nomination requires two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes, to be approved.
In other words, the Senate GOPers have the leverage and appear willing to use it.
So why can't they use the same strategy on the debt ceiling? House Republicans can veto anything Obama and the Senate Democratic majority want to do on the debt ceiling because the Constitution requires that all spending and taxation legislation originate in the lower chamber.
If McConnell and the rest of the Senate GOP caucus vowed to back the House GOP on the debt ceiling issue, they could force Obama and Senate Democrats to stop talking about tax increases and start moving toward a genuine compromise that would command public support and get the country moving in the right direction again.