Senator Warren’s Question: Why Is This Agency Different from Other Agencies?

At Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren had no questions for Richard Cordray, the nominee to lead the CFPB. “You’ve already testified 12 times [and] CFPB officials have testified more than 30 times,” she pointed out. “You’ve been an open book… and you’ve won widespread praise for both your balance and your judgment.”

Instead, Warren addressed her questions to the 43 Senators who have pledged to block a confirmation vote:


“What I want to know is why, since the 1800s, have there been agencies all over Washington with a single director including the OCC, but unlike the consumer agency, no one in the U.S. Senate has held up confirmation of their directors, demanding that the agency be redesigned.

“What I want to know is why every banking regulator since the Civil War has been funded outside the Appropriations process, but unlike the consumer agency, no one in the United States Senate has held up confirmation of their directors demanding that that agency or those agencies be redesigned.

“And what I want to know is why there are agencies all over Washington whose rules are final, subject to the ordinary reviews and oversight, while the CFPB is the only agency in government, subject to a veto by other agencies.  But unlike the CFPB, no one in the U.S. Senate holds up confirmation of their directors, demanding that those agencies be redesigned.

“From the way I see how other agencies are treated, I see nothing here but a filibuster threat against Director Cordray as an attempt to weaken the consumer agency.  I think the delay in getting him confirmed is bad for consumers.  It’s bad for small banks.  It’s bad for credit unions.  It’s bad for anyone trying to offer an honest product in an honest market.

“The American people deserve a Congress that worries less about helping big banks and more about helping regular people who’ve been cheated on mortgages, on credit cards, on student loans, on credit reports.  I hope you get confirmed.  You have earned it, Director Cordray.”

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