Updated 6:28 p.m.
Richard Cordray was confirmed Tuesday as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a deal that smoothed a path for other White House executive branch nominees, but not judicial nominees.
The Senate vote—66 to 34—came only after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) threatened for days to use the so-called "nuclear option" to strip the ability of Republicans to filibuster executive nominations.
Cordray, who was first nominated in July 2011, was the first part of a deal between Democrats and Republicans to give confirmation votes for nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, Reid (D-Nev.) announced.
President Barack Obama said in a statement that he was pleased by the action on nominees that have waited too long.
"Over the last two years, I’ve nominated leaders to fill important positions required to do the work of the American people, only to have those positions remain unfilled – not because the nominees were somehow unqualified, but for purely political reasons," Obama said.
"I want to thank the Senators from both parties – including Leader Reid, Leader McConnell and Senator McCain – who have worked together to find a path forward and give these nominees the votes they deserve," Obama's statement said.
But the deal did not apply to judicial nominees, specifically the three nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. “We’ll take those one at a time,” Reid said at a Capitol Hill press conference. “Those are going through the process and we’ll see.”
The confirmation of Cordray also cleared a cloud of legal uncertainty that has hung over the agency since he began that role after a recess appointment in January 2012.
The D.C. Circuit in January declared unconstitutional Obama’s recess appointments to the federal labor board. The appellate court ruling, which the government has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review, cast doubt on the merits of the recess appointment of Cordray to lead the consumer protection agency.