Prominent House Republicans have called on Donald Trump to “fire” the head of the CFPB.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who heads the House Financial Services Committee, lashed out against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray on Wednesday. Hensarling demanded that Cordray be “immediately” terminated from his position, laying down a list of abuses for which the Bureau and its head are allegedly responsible.
“For all of the harm caused to our consumers, [Cordray] should be dismissed by the President,” the Representative said, shortly before Cordray was due to appear before the Committee.
“Mr. Cordray, I’m surprised you’re here,” exclaimed Hensarling prior to the man giving his testimony.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, much like the EPA, has faced an uncertain future since the Trump administration came into power in January. Conservative critics of the Bureau claim that it is an unwieldy tool which exercises too much investigative and punitive authority over the free market.
Former presidential candidate Ted Cruz has been vehement in his damning of the Bureau. He labeled the CFPB a “runaway agency” and claimed it “does little to protect consumers.” Cruz said the abolition of the Bureau would enable Congress to seize “the opportunity to free consumers and small businesses from the CFPB’s regulatory blockades and financial activism, which stunt financial growth.”
Since its inception as an agency, the CFPB has been charged with rooting out instances of financial fraud and villainy on the part of large and small corporations alike.
To its credit, the CFPB has won over $12 billion for consumers who claim to have been defrauded or misled by predatory banks. One of the recent endeavors undertaken by the Bureau was the punishment and restricting of student loan financiers; according to the CFPB, certain lenders and loan servicers prompted their customers into default by withholding important information about deferrals and income-based repayment plans.
A number of Democrats have voiced support for Cordray and the CFPB.
“I will be with you forever,” said Rep. Maxine Walters (D-CA), who is the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. “I would hope this president, though I doubt it, has the wisdom to keep you on.”
The GOP has been pushing for the termination of Cordray, suggesting that he be replaced by a bipartisan commission subject to congressional appropriation rules. Such a move, according to The Hill, would give lawmakers more control over the mechanisms which allow the CFPB to act as an effective regulator.
Other Republicans have blasted Cordray and his agency for being lazy and touting fines over concrete victories for consumers. Rep. Ann Wagnor, of Missouri, said Cordray was “sleeping behind the wheel” when the CFPB apparently stalled on chasing Wells-Fargo for opening millions of unauthorized bank accounts. The case was instead spearheaded by the The Los Angeles Times and the regional judiciary.
Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) marveled at the crooked angle taken by the GOP’s line of fire.
“First they complain you enforce too much,” said Capuano to Cordray. “Then we just heard a 10-minute rant about how you enforce too little.”