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HFSC Chairman Hensarling: Congress cannot legally hear testimony from Cordray

Jeb Hensarling

Jeb Hensarling

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said Congress cannot legally accept testimony from CFPB Director Richard Cordray on the agency’s semi-annual report until he is legally appointed as director.

The Senate has not yet confirmed Cordray’s nomination to lead the CFPB following a U.S. court ruling earlier this year that found President Obama’s installation of Cordray as CFPB director to be unconstitutional.

“The court’s unanimous ruling makes it clear that there is no legally-appointed director of the CFPB at this time,” Hensarling said. “By law, the committee can receive this testimony only from a director who is appointed in accordance with the Constitution and the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the bureau.”

Hensarling said in a letter to CFPB Associate Director and General Counsel Meredith Fuchs the committee “stands ready to accept the testimony of the director of the CFPB on the semi-annual report as soon as an individual validly holds this position,” adding the committee will continue to oversee the CFPB’s activities and will “expect the CFPB’s cooperation in those efforts.”

Additionally, Hensarling noted the court’s ruling and Dodd-Frank requirements that specify the CFPB director must be appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate.

“Absent contrary guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court, you do not meet the statutory requirements of a validly-serving director of the CFPB and cannot be recognized as such,” Hensarling said in a Monday letter to Cordray.

Hensarling and other congressional Republicans have called for key changes to be made to the agency’s structure, including the replacement of Cordray with a five-member, bipartisan commission.

“No other regulator has more influence over the daily financial lives of Americans,” Hensarling said. “Dodd-Frank gives the CFPB director the power to decide what financial products and services will – and will not – be available to American consumers and how much they will have to pay for them. How is it fair to American consumers that one unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat in Washington has the power to decide what kind of mortgage, car loan or credit card they can or cannot have? No bureaucrat should have so much control over the financial destiny of Americans, particularly one who is completely insulated from the types of checks and balances that apply to other government agencies. The director has more power over the CFPB than the President of the United States has over the White House.”

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