Richard Cordray, the nation's consumer watchdog for credit cards, mortgages and other financial products, is set to emerge from a legal cloud that threatened his agency's authority after a Senate deal paved the way for his confirmation as director, the Los Angeles Times reported.


The Senate on Tuesday voted 66 to 34 to confirm Cordray to a five-year term as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, giving the young agency the certainty that it has lacked since it was created as the centerpiece of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The vote came after Senate Democrats and Republicans reached a tentative agreement to avoid a confrontation over the use of filibusters on presidential nominees.


Cordray's recess appointment by President Barack Obama would have expired at the end of this year.


The confirmation vote "finally removes the cloud that's been hanging over the agency since he got appointed a year and a half ago," said Alan Kaplinsky, chair of the consumer financial services group at the Ballard Spahr law firm.


The Dodd-Frank law gave the bureau authority over a wide range of financial products and services, including debt collection, payday loans and others that have mostly eluded federal regulation.


With Cordray's confirmation, "Now ... there's no doubt that the consumer agency will survive beyond the crib," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who helped create and launch the agency before being elected last year. "There is now no doubt the American people will have a strong watchdog in Washington."