WASHINGTON — 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.
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.
Meanwhile, Republicans pushed their recipe for the nation's economic struggles.
Set for a House vote next week, the GOP plan ties an extension of the payroll tax and extended unemployment benefits to a provision that jump-starts work on a pipeline to carry oil from Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Obama wants to postpone a decision on the project, known as the Keystone XL pipeline, until after next fall's elections.
"You've heard President Obama say the American people can't wait to take action on jobs," House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said in the Republicans' weekly address. "Well, the Keystone project is the very definition of an idea the American people can't wait for Washington to take action on."