WASHINGTON -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) could hardly hide her excitement on Tuesday, when the Senate finally voted to confirm Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Warren's reaction was captured on C-SPAN2, since she coincidentally was presiding over the Senate at the time and therefore had the honor of announcing the vote.
"Anyone wishing to change their vote? If not, on this vote, the yeas are 66, the nays are 34. The nomination is confirmed," she said with a wide smile.
At a Senate Democratic lunch on Tuesday, Warren was heard to say that she had been worried Republicans would succeed in negotiating away pieces of the CFPB. "I thought they were going to cut off one of his appendages," she said of Cordray. After the overwhelming vote to move forward on his nomination, she said she was convinced. "I'm a believer," she said, according to a person in the room.
The confirmation was a victory for Democrats, who have pushed for Cordray's confirmation since President Barack Obama first nominated him in July 2011. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reached a deal with Republicans on Tuesday in which he agreed not to change Senate filibuster rules if they would stop blocking several of Obama's nominees.
But it was even more of a victory for Warren, who came up with the original idea for the CFPB and was Obama's initial choice to head the agency. When Republicans made clear they would never let that happen, she ran for Senate and beat the Republican incumbent. Since that time, she has aggressively pushed for the confirmation of Cordray, who received a recess appointment from the president in January 2012.
Lauren Miller, who served as the digital director of Warren's 2012 Senate campaign, wrote on Twitter Tuesday that it was all a "perfect ending":
— Lauren Miller (@laurenm) July 16, 2013
Warren also put out a statement on Tuesday after the vote, saying it showed "the consumer agency is the law of the land and is here to stay."
"We fought hard for the agency, and we proved that big change is still possible in Washington," she said. "Now we have the watchdog that the American people deserve -- a watchdog looking out for middle class families, getting rid of tricks, traps, and fine print, and holding financial institutions accountable when they break the law."