Elizabeth Warren, the Treasury Department and White House adviser assigned to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told House Democrats they must keep fighting for the agency as it begins operations.
“We fought to get here and we’re going to have to fight to stay here, but it’s a fight worth having,” Warren told Democrats before a meeting on the Dodd-Frank Act in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office.
Warren’s comments came before the Republican-led House is scheduled to consider a bill to make changes to the leadership structure and oversight of the bureau. Republicans, who almost unanimously opposed the Dodd-Frank Act last year, have pushed to restrict the agency’s authority.
The consumer bureau officially begins work tomorrow, exactly one year after President Barack Obama signed Dodd-Frank into law. Obama announced on July 17 that he had chosen Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general, as his nominee for director of the bureau.
The president’s advisers would recommend that he veto the bill if it were to reach his desk, the Obama administration said in a statement of policy.
The measure “would significantly interfere with the CFPB’s charge to make consumer financial markets operate more efficiently and effectively, facilitate innovation in the marketplace, protect consumers’ interests, and ensure that consumers have the information they need to make prudent financial decisions,” the administration said in the statement.
Republican lawmakers have argued for replacing the director position with a five-member board and lowering the threshold for bank regulators to veto the bureau’s rules.
“It’s ironic that there is another fight to try and kill this agency, another fight to try and cut the legs out from underneath it,” said Warren, who was surrounded by Democrats including Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts.
Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Banking Committee, told reporters that Cordray’s nomination to head the bureau would likely be stalled “unless there are some fundamental changes in its structure.”
The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on Cordray’s nomination before the August recess, a Senate Democratic aide said.
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