Warren Rips Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Chief Mulvaney During Hearing

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/04/12/warren-rips-consumer-financial-protection-bureau-chief-mulvaney-during-hearing/

Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who dreamed up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and saw it transform into reality under the Dodd-Frank reforms of 2010, pounced on her chance Thursday to criticize the man currently at the helm of the agency. 

Bureau acting chief Mick Mulvaney appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Warren used her time to accuse Mulvaney of “never” supporting the “consumer watchdog,” reminding him of the time when as a congressman he “voted in favor of a Republican budget that called for eliminating the agency entirely.”

The blistering line of questioning launched by Warren saw Mulvaney repeatedly address her as “ma’am” and name several other federal government agencies tasked with enforcing identical regulations — including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

That particular agency, Warren countered, was just one of several government outfits whose regulatory responsibilities failed during the stock market’s 2008 subprime mortgage-driven crash.

“Let’s not pretend like you hope some other agency would do that work, Mr. Mulvaney,” Warren quipped. “I have a list of 11 bills that you supported during your time in Congress that would have made it harder for states and other federal agencies to protect consumers and to hold cheaters accountable.”

Warren repeatedly referred to examples of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s role as a consumer watchdog, including a 2016 instance in which it recouped $25 million from a for-profit college. Again, Mulvaney pointed to another federal agency that had been in existence prior to the consumer-protection bureau’s formation — the Federal Trade Commission, which bills itself as “protecting America’s consumers.”

Warren, appearing visibly annoyed with Mulvaney’s answers, responded by chiding the former lawmaker’s point, adding that “some other agency might magically have intervened when they [FTC] didn’t.”

Mulvaney appeared unmoved.

“Why would it have been more magic to have the FTC do it than the Bureau?” he answered.

The back-and-forth between Mulvaney continued, with Warren getting the last word, including mentioning a military serviceman from Hull, Massachusetts named Ari Cabot-Boris who she said was rescued by the consumer-protection bureau when as a 20-year-old on active duty he fell victim to a car loan scam:

You know, in Congress, you tried repeatedly to kill the consumer agency. Since you got to the agency, you’ve announced that you won’t use the exact enforcement tool that CFPB used to stop every single scam that I’ve mentioned today. You’ve taken obvious joy in talking about how the agency will help banks a lot more than it will help consumers — and how upset this must make me.

But here’s what you don’t get, Mr. Mulvaney:  this isn’t about me. This is about active-duty military, it’s about first responders, and students, and seniors, and families — and Ari, and his dad, and millions of other people who need someone on their side when consumers get cheated.

You are hurting real people to score cheap political points.

.@MickMulvaneyOMB has been bringing up my name a lot lately when talking about the @CFPB. But what he doesn’t get is that this isn’t about me. It’s about the millions of Americans who want someone to go after the companies that cheated them. pic.twitter.com/FFNuxFU0rD

— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 12, 2018

Mulvaney was also greeted at Thursday’s hearing by a so-called “transmasculine” activist gadfly named Amanda Werner who managed to secure a prime seat inside the hearing room in line with television cameras. Werner donned a Monopoly Man costume to troll Mulvaney:

Mulvaney appeared before the committee as part of his responsibility to deliver semi-annual updates on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s activities.