On Thursday, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Mick Mulvaney, told a Senate panel that he is not legally bound to answer lawmakers’ questions. He said that he is only obligated to appear before them.
Mulvaney told the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, “While I have to be here by statute, I don’t think I have to answer your questions. If you take a look at the actual statute that requires me to be here, it says that I ‘shall appear’ before the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs of the Senate. And I’m here and I’m happy to do it. I want to make it clear, I’m going to answer every question that I can today. I’m not using this as an excuse not to answer your questions.”
Mulvaney serves as the White House budget director. On Wednesday, he made a similar remark during an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee. He said, “It would be my statutory right to just sit here and twiddle my thumbs while you all ask questions.”
Mulvaney has long been critical of the CFPB. He was trying to make a point about the independent status of the agency, which he has claimed needs a more aggressive congressional oversight on several occasions.
In November, he took over as the bureau’s acting director, after its first chief, Richard Cordray, stepped down. Cordray is now a Democratic candidate for governor of Ohio.
Earlier this month, Mulvaney asked lawmakers to dramatically weaken his agency’s power. He called for changes that include Congress taking control of the CFPB’s budget and giving the president the ability to fire its director.
Mulvaney wrote, “The Bureau is far too powerful and with precious little oversight of its activities.”
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Credit: The Hill