Elizabeth Warren takes questions from Larry, Moe, and Curly

Warren, who’s helping the President set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (an agency created by, and with a mandate from, the U.S. Congress), has been subject to absolutely daffy questioning from members of the House Oversight Committee. E.g.,

Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) mistakenly thought the CFPB was unique among financial regulators in having a leader with a five-year term and in not being subject to annual congressional appropriations — neither of which is true.

“I don’t believe anyone else in history has had that period of time as an appointment,” Guinta contended of the five-year term.

“Congressman, I think many terms are five-year terms,” Warren answered, pointing out that the head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency had just finished such a term.

Guinta then suggested that the agencies Warren compared to the CFPB actually had more oversight from Congress through annual appropriations.

“Those entities I think are at the discretion of Congress,” Guinta argued. “There’s an oversight process through appropriations — you’re excluded from that.”

“No, Congressman, I’m sorry,” Warren answered. “There is no banking regulator who is subject to the political process or to appropriations.” Banking regulators, including the the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of Thrift Supervision and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, take fees from financial institutions for their budgets.

And again:

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.)… seemed to think that Warren had written the Dodd-Frank law, and he was determined to know what Warren meant by defining “abusive” practices as something that “materially interferes” with the ability of a consumer to understand a term or a condition.

“That suggests to me that some interferences are immaterial. Is that what you meant by that?” he asked a momentarily perplexed-looking Warren.

“Congressman, I believe the language you are quoting is out of the Dodd-Frank act,” she said. “This is the language that Congress has adopted.”

Whatever you think of the CFPB, this shit is embarrassing. I know there are no job requirements for congressional representatives other than the minimum age, but really, guys — at least do the reading.

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One Response to Elizabeth Warren takes questions from Larry, Moe, and Curly

  1. Darrell Tangman says:

    This sort of thing is one reason that the Downsize DC organization is pushing their Read the Bills Act. It would require each member of Congress to sign an affidavit, under penalty of perjury, affirming that he or she has read the full text of any bill prior to voting for it. I know it will never happen, and it would certainly impede the operation of Congress (and wouldn’t that be tragic?), but it might help a little in cases like this.

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