Elizabeth Warren may be glad she didn’t end up running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, because in her consolation job as a U.S. senator, she gets to openly speak her mind about it.
And speak her mind she did at Tuesday’s Senate Banking Committee hearing on the nominations of Richard Cordray to head the CFPB and Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. Sen. Warren (D-Mass.) had no questions for Cordray, noting he had already testified before the panel a dozen times. Instead, she blasted a series of questions at the Senate Republicans holding Cordray’s nomination hostage while they try to weaken the new agency’s power, and wrapped up with a rebuke:
“I see nothing here but a filibuster threat against Director Cordray as an attempt to weaken the consumer agency,” Warren said. “I think the delay in getting him confirmed is bad for consumers, it’s bad for small banks, bad for credit unions, 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,” she added, “and more about helping regular people who have been cheated on mortgages, on credit cards, on student loans and on credit reports.”
The CFPB is one of the signature creations of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, with more than 1,000 employees and broad powers to regulate new corners of financial services. As an academic, Warren was one of the early proponents of the new agency and was President Obama’s first choice to lead it. But opposition to Warren from Republicans and banks was so fierce that he instead nominated Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general. That confirmation process proved no easier, and Obama last year installed Cordray with a recess appointment. Warren, meanwhile, won election to the Senate and appointment to the influential Banking Committee, where she is becoming a vocal advocate for financial reform.
CONTINUED at the Huffington Post. Video at link.