Will Sen. Bob Corker emerge as a "legitimate dealmaker" or be regarded as a "legislative flirt"?
That's the question asked in a report run by Politico this morning, regarding the senator's possible role in crafting a compromise for the Senate confirmation of President Barack Obama's nominee for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray.
The article mentions that Corker, a member of the Senate Banking Committee and former Chattanooga mayor, was one of two Republican senators to not sign a letter pledging to block Cordray's confirmation.
Corker was quoted saying he was working on a bipartisan solution for moving forward with the process.
"I've been working for a compromise and looking for legislative solutions, so I just didn't sign it," Corker was quoted saying. "I thought it was best to stay off of it."
The report recalls past efforts by the senator to elicit bipartisan compromise on issues such as the auto bailout and Wall Street reform, which failed. It also quotes a nameless former Democratic Senate staffer, who suggests Corker may be "more interested in crafting a bipartisan persona than cutting a bipartisan deal."
But the fight over the CFPB chief may play to the senator's advantage yet, the report reads.
"Corker now has a chance to quiet his critics in the fight over the CFPB and establish himself as a rare bipartisan broker," the report says.
On Monday afternoon, Corker's office issued a statement "to clarify" Politico's report.
The statement said that after having conversations with "a number of stakeholders" regarding Cordray's appointment in recent weeks, the senator had determined it would be up to the White House to determine necessary changes to the CFPB in order to ensure Cordray's confirmation.
"I made some suggestions to people at Treasury and the White House as to how they might go about resolving this issue and getting Richard Cordray confirmed," Corker said. "… But at this point, the ball is entirely in the White House's court. By making some modest and reasonable changes to the structure of the CFPB, I think we could have a strong Senate vote confirming Cordray as leader of the organization. But that will require the White House showing a willingness to move the process forward."
To read the full Politico report, click here.
Last year, both Corker and Sen. Lamar Alexander opposed Obama's nomination of Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, to head the newly formed agency. When the president sped Cordray's appointment through during a Senate recess, the action drew ire from both Tennessee senators.
Recently, a court ruling struck down recess appointments made by Obama to the National Labor Relations Board, which occurred at the same time as Cordray's appointment. The action has renewed outspoken opposition from Republicans toward the agency head.
Updated @ 3:18 p.m. on 2/25/13 to add more information as it became available.
Updated @ 3:34 p.m. on 2/25/13 to correct a typographical error.
Updated @ 9:34 a.m. on 2/26/13 to correct a typographical error.