Four months after Rohit Chopra was reported as the Biden government's decision to head the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, the consumer advocate is awaiting Senate confirmation.
Analysts attribute the delay to concerns among some Democrats that moving too quickly to confirm that Chopra, now a member of the Federal Trade Commission, would win a majority on Republican-appointed FTC members.
Many believe Chopra will ultimately squeal through the tightly-knit Senate after a separate nomination for another Biden-backed FTC commissioner is approved. However, the CFPB directorate is one of several positions for financial regulators that the administration has not yet filled.
"They kind of messed up the timing," said Isaac Boltansky, director of policy research at Compass Point Research & Trading.
Some observers note that the appointment of Acting CFPB Director Dave Uejio made the affirmation of Chopra a lower priority, as Uejio has already pursued democratically backed initiatives that Chopra would inherit.
Many believe that Rohit Chopra's CFPB nomination will ultimately go through the tightly divided Senate after a separate nomination for another Biden-backed FTC commissioner is approved.
"The expectation is that Rohit Chopra will be confirmed in about a month," said Christopher Willis, partner at Ballard Spahr and co-head of the company's Consumer Financial Services group.
Chopra, a former student loan ombudsman at CFPB, was first mentioned as the administration's choice to run the agency before Biden took office. His nomination was sent to the Senate in mid-February.
Chopra's nomination hearing was held on March 2nd, along with that of veteran regulator Gary Gensler. Still, Gensler went through the verification process in just six weeks and has headed the Securities and Exchange Commission for nearly two months.
Chopra is currently one of two Democratic commissioners on the FTC's five-member board. His nomination for the CFPB is believed to be delayed as Democrats first have to confirm Lina Khan, a professor at Columbia Law School, to the FTC, experts said.
"I really think the delay is solely due to the FTC nomination," said Boltansky.
While some Republicans want to hold off Chopra's nomination, chances are still good that he will be confirmed. Khan is due to be confirmed in the next week or mid-June at the latest. Chopra is expected to be confirmed during the August break.
"Democrats want to make sure that they do Lina Khan's nomination first and then try to follow suit at the same time or directly, they would confirm Chopra," said a former Senate official.
The Senate vote for Chopra is expected to split between 50 and 50, with 48 Democrats and two Independents voting for Chopra and 50 Republicans against him. Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to be the tiebreaker, Boltansky said.
"I don't know if Republicans will cross the aisle given the political dynamics," he said.
Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, slammed Chopra in an opening speech at his opening hearing, saying that Chopra will "return the CFPB to the hyperactive, illegal, anti-business, unaccountable agency under which it is was standing." Obama administration. "
Chopra helped set up the CFPB and served as the agency's student loan ombudsman during the Obama administration. He was appointed to the FTC in 2018 by then-President Donald Trump, where he sailed through Senate endorsement by being unanimously approved by vote.
At the FTC, Chopra was known to take aggressive enforcement positions, especially from large tech companies.
The FTC enforces antitrust policies and also oversees some consumer protection laws that are in line with the CFPB. Khan, like Chopra, has been extremely critical of the anti-competitive practices of large technology companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google.
Part of the reason Chopra is filling the CFPB position immediately is because Uejio has been aggressively seeking to overturn Trump-era policies and address the consumer harm caused by the pandemic.
"Acting CFPB Director Dave Ueijio is already very active," said Willis.
Uejio has stated that he is laying the groundwork for Chopra to swiftly address a number of enforcement actions and rulebooks, including the potential repeal and reissue of collection and payday loan rules issued under former CFPB director Kathy Kraninger .
"There are some very public, large-scale rulebooks that will take place after Chopra is approved," Willis said.