This morning, Senate Republicans blocked the confirmation of Richard Cordray.
Shortly after, President Obama walked into the briefing room here at the White House to address that vote -- and the refusal of Congress to extend the payroll tax cut.
The President spoke first about his nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
Consumers across the country understand that part of the reason we got into the financial mess that we did was because regulators were not doing their jobs. People were not paying attention to what was happening in the housing market; people weren’t paying attention to who was being taken advantage of. There were folks who were making a lot of money taking advantage of American consumers.
This individual's job is to make sure that individual consumers are protected -- everybody from seniors to young people who are looking for student loans, to members of our Armed Services who are probably more vulnerable than just about anybody when it comes to unscrupulous financial practices.
There is no reason why Mr. Cordray should not be nominated, and should not be confirmed by the Senate, and should not be doing his job right away in order to carry out his mandate and his mission.
President Obama promised to explore all options and take nothing "off the table" with respect to ensuring that the CFPB is able to fulfill its mission of protecting consumers.
He also insisted that lawmakers stay at work in Washington until they've reached an agreement to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance:
This is for 160 million people who, in 23 days, are going to see their taxes go up if Congress doesn’t act. This is for 5 million individuals who are out there looking for a job and can't find a job right now in a tough economy who could end up not being able to pay their bills or keep their house if Congress doesn’t act.
"Rather than trying to figure out what they can extract politically from me, what they need to do is focus on what's good for the economy, what's good for jobs, and what's good for the American people." President Obama said.