President Barack Obama isn't backing down from demanding that Republicans confirm his pick to head a new consumer watchdog office, saying GOP lawmakers are depriving middle-class Americans of better protection against the kind of deceptive business practices that contributed to the financial meltdown.
Every day that the country must wait for a director of the Consumer Financial Protection Board "is another day that dishonest businesses can target and take advantage of students, seniors and service members," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.
"So I refuse to take `no' for an answer. Financial institutions have plenty of high-powered lawyers and lobbyists looking out for them. It's time consumers had someone on their side."
Senate Republicans this past week blocked Obama's appointment of Richard Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, to lead an agency they said had been given too much power and too little accountability.
Without a director, the office designed to shield consumers from the excesses behind the 2008 financial crisis is unable to operate at full strength.
With voters set to begin selecting a Republican presidential nominee in less than a month, Obama suggested the disagreement is another example of two parties who see fairness very differently. He said a consumer watchdog agency is critical to protecting ordinary Americans from the greed of the financial sector.