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Politics Mulvaney urges Congress to strip agency's powers

00:50  12 april  2018
00:50  12 april  2018 Source:   thehill.com

Weaken Consumer Bureau, Its Chief Requests in First Report to Congress

  Weaken Consumer Bureau, Its Chief Requests in First Report to Congress Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, wants to cripple the agency he has long criticized and been tasked to lead.WASHINGTON — In his first report to Congress as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney called on lawmakers on Monday to cripple the agency that he has been temporarily tasked with overseeing.

The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asked a House committee Wednesday to rein in the agency ’ s power to police the financial That decision gave Mulvaney free reign to transform the agency he had once sought to eliminate as a member of Congress .

On Monday, he called on Congress to reduce the independence of his agency , which he said “is far too powerful A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: Mulvaney , in First Report to Congress , Urges Weakening of Consumer Bureau.

  Mulvaney urges Congress to strip agency's powers © Provided by The Hill

The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asked a House committee Wednesday to rein in the agency's power to police the financial sector.

Mick Mulvaney, who is also the White House budget director, urged the House Financial Services Committee to impose several new restrictions on the bureau. He said lawmakers need to take control of the agency's funding, make his successors fireable at will by the president and install an inspector general, among other things.

"It's not accountable to you. It's not accountable to the public. It's not accountable to anybody but itself," Mulvaney said of the CFPB, telling lawmakers to "take back authority as the legislature of the country."

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The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asked a House committee Wednesday to rein in the agency ’ s power to police the financial That decision gave Mulvaney free reign to transform the agency he had once sought to eliminate as a member of Congress .

But he wants Congress to go further and has urged it to wrest funding of the independent watchdog from the Federal Reserve, a move that would give In his remarks, Mr. Mulvaney also announced a series of moves intended to reduce the bureau’ s power . The agency was championed by Senator

Republicans showered praise on Mulvaney's efforts to pull back the CFPB, an agency they've long accused of violating the law and abusing its powers to wage a crusade against financial institutions.

"It is sheer irony and great comic relief to see the wailing and gnashing of teeth of many of my Democratic colleagues who now denounce the unaccountable nature of the CFPB, but only because now a Republican is in control," said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).

"I ask, 'Where have you been?' "

Democrats who long resisted GOP efforts to change the CFPB ripped Mulvaney for his efforts to ease off its historically aggressive enforcement. Some of them even refused to recognize him as the bureau's acting chief.

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04/11/18--13:38: Mulvaney urges Congress to strip agency ' s powers . 04/24/18--18:26: Mulvaney to bankers: Your input will help limit consumer bureau' s power .

He also urged Congress to make clear that the agency ’ s director is directly accountable to the president, and said lawmakers should have power to block its regulations. Mulvaney , who remains President Donald Trump’s budget director

"Mr. Mulvaney is not the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," said Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.), the committee's ranking Democrat. "He was illegally appointed by President Trump."

Even so, Waters said that Democrats needed to press Mulvaney on the "impactful and indeed harmful decisions" he has made in his nearly five months leading the agency.

Trump appointed Mulvaney as acting CFPB chief in November following the resignation of Richard Cordray (D), the bureau's first director. Cordray had sought to choose his temporary heir by elevating Leandra English, then his chief of staff, to the deputy director position.

A federal judge ruled in November that Trump's appointment of Mulvaney superseded English's claim to the job as the CFPB's deputy chief. That decision gave Mulvaney free reign to transform the agency he had once sought to eliminate as a member of Congress.

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The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is using a required appearance before Congress to advocate for a reduction in his own agency ' s power . As part of his first semi-annual report to Congress , Mick Mulvaney is promoting new proposals that critics say would strip the

Mick Mulvaney , the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, asked Congress to strip some of the agency ' s powers . The changes Mulvaney asked for would give Congress and the president more power over the agency .

Mulvaney's major actions include delaying a controversial rule on short-term, high-interest loans, restructuring the bureau's office for policing lending discrimination and starting a sweeping review of the CFPB's operations. The goal, he said, is to end what he considers the bureau's overzealous and harmful history of aggressive fines and lawsuits.

"Regulation by enforcement is done," Mulvaney said. "Financial services providers should be allowed to know what the law is before being accused of breaking it."

Republicans on the panel joined Mulvaney, a former member of the committee, in denouncing the CFPB's broad power and independence.

"You are thankfully both a terrible bureaucrat but a great leader," said Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.).

Mulvaney stressed his commitment to doing nothing beyond enforcing consumer protection laws and fulfilling his obligations as CFPB director. He denied Democratic charges that he is seeking to destroy the bureau from within. He cited as proof his continuation of the 25 lawsuits Cordray filed against lenders accused of fraud or abuse and the more than 100 investigations being conducted by the bureau.

Other Democrats pressed Mulvaney for signs that he's abused his position to benefit special interests or crossed ethical lines meant to separate his work at the CFPB and as Trump's budget director.

"We're still going after bad actors," Mulvaney said. "We're doing it differently than other folks might do it, because elections have consequences."

Democrats said the fact that Mulvaney had not initiated any of his own actions against banks was proof of his unfitness for the job.

"The clear implication is that the people who were enforcing before are not enforcing anymore," said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.). "What the heck are they doing now?"

Mulvaney will appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the architect of the CFPB who has emerged as the most vocal critic of Mulvaney, will have a chance to question Mulvaney at the hearing.

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