Political Gridlock and the Fight over the Consumer Watchdog Agency

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The debt ceiling and deficit aren't the only issues subject to partisan gridlock in Congress. Last year, with majorities in both houses of Congress, Democrats passed finance reform. This year, Republicans are hell-bent to change it. One controversial element is the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was given more power than Republicans wanted. President Obama has nominated Ohio's former Attorney General to run it. But the consumer advocate has to be confirmed by the Senate, and Republican Jerry Moran of Kansas, says Richard Cordray is "dead on arrival." It's another example of political polarization in Washington: major bills might pass on party-line votes, but then lack the support required for implementation. Is divided government creating an atmosphere of perpetual gridlock? Is that making Washington unable to govern at all?




Warren Olney