Another hearing of the Senate Banking Committee, another few minutes of powerful outrage from my Senator, Elizabeth Warren.
As Joan previewed yesterday, today's hearing (which just wrapped up) included debate on the nomination of Richard Cordray to be the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). His nomination has been held up by historic levels of Republican obstruction. Needless to say, Senator Warren, who helped to found and stand up the Bureau, is reaching the end of her rope with these delays.
And I can't be the only person who, when I read her questions from today's hearing, heard echoes of the great Howard Dean...
Senator Warren began by noting that she had no questions for Cordray since he had testified over a dozen times before the Senate and has been deemed to be more than qualified for the post and has been seen as an exemplary interim head of the Bureau.
She then proceeded to filet her Republican Senate colleagues with a series of very pointed "questions" in which she argued that the CFPB is being singled out for not so special treatment, unlike other federal agencies:
"What I want to know is why, since the 1800s, have there been agencies all over Washington with a single director, including the [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency]," she began, "but unlike the consumer agency, no one in the U.S. Senate has held up confirmation of their directors demanding that the agency be redesigned."Updated: Senator Warren's question time during today's hearing:
"What I want to know," she continued, "is why every banking regulator since the Civil War has been funded outside the appropriations process -- but unlike the consumer agency, no one in the U.S. Senate has held up confirmation of their directors demanding that that agency or those agencies be redesigned."
"And what I want to know is why there are agencies all over Washington whose rules are final subject to ordinary reviews and oversight, while the CFPB is the only agency in government subject to a veto by other agencies -- but unlike the CFPB, no one in the U.S. Senate holds up confirmation of their directors demanding that those agencies be redesigned."
And for those who, like me, had a deja vu moment reading Senator Warren's comments, join me on a walk down memory lane -- to Sacramento in March 2003 -- ten years ago almost exactly -- for the "What I Want to Know" speech that launched Howard Dean's presidential campaign:
The obstruction and undermining of the CFPB is seriously outrageous. Senator Warren's response seems entirely appropriate to me. Here's hoping that her pointed "questions" get under her colleagues' skin and shame them into confirming Richard Cordray as the new head of the CFPB.