Ranking Member McHenry Delivers Remarks on H.R. 1500


THE CHAIR: THE GENEMAN FROM NORTH CAROLINA IS RECOGNIZED. MR. MCHENRY: I THANK THE CHAIR FOR THE RECOGNITION. LOOK, LET ME CLOSE BY SAYING WHAT I SAID BRIEFLY IN DEBATE. THIS BILL IS ABOUT BUYER’S REMORSE. I WOULD SAY TO MY COLLEAGUE FROM MASSACHUSETTS THAT RAISED THE ISSUE OF WELLS FARGO, THERE WAS A BIPARTISAN HEARING, CHAIRWOMAN WATERS CALLED THE HEARING, WE HAD BIPARTISAN QUESTIONING OF THE WELLS FARGO C.E.O. WE’VE TAKEN BIPARTISAN WORK ON THE OVERSIGHT OF REGULATORS AND THE REGULATED WHEN IT CAME TO MALFEASANCE BY WELLS FARGO AND SOME OF THE EMPLEES THAT WERE WITHIN THAT FIRM. THERE WAS A BIPARTISAN LEVEL OF COOPERATION THERE. I WOULD ALSO HIGHLIGHT TO COLLEAGUE FROM MASSACHUSETTS THAT IT WAS NOT THE REGULATORS THAT FOUND THE MALFEASANCE OF WELLS FARGO. IT WAS THE WISE REPORTING, THE GOOD REPORTING OF THE “LOS ANGELES TIMES.” THROUGH INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM THEY FOUND THE MALFEASANCE AND THE BAD ACTORS AND THE BAD POLICIES WITHIN WELLS FARGO. NOT THE REGULATORS. AND THAT IS A FAILURE OF THE REGULATORS. IT IS A FAILURE OF THE CFPB. WE HAVE YET TO HAVE A HEARING ABOUT THOSE FAILURES. BUT LET ME SAY FROM THE OUTSET ABOUT THIS BILL, IT PROVES THAT REPUBLICANS — WHAT REPUBLICANS HAVE SAID SINCE THE PASSAGE OF DODD-FRANK. THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU IS UNACCOUNTABLE. WE HEAR MY DEMOCRAT COLLEAGUES COMPLAIN ABOUT THE ACTIONS OF A LEGAL OVERSEER OF THE BUREAU, MICK MULVANEY, AND NOW THE COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN-APPOINTED DIRECTOR, KATHY KRANINGER. WE’RE HERE TODAY BECAUSE DEMOCRATS REGRET THAT DURING DODD-FRANK, THAT THEY DIDN’T GO FAR ENOUGH IN MANDATING OUTCOMES BY THIS BUREAU, BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T CONSIDER A REPUBLICAN COULD ACTUALLY BE A LEADER OF THAT BUREAU AND THEY MAY NOT LIKE THE ACTION OF THAT UNACCOUNTABLE DIRECTOR. THEY HAVE BUYER’S REMORSE. AND UNFORTUNATELY THEY’VE DECIDED TO ADVANCE LEGISLATION THAT DOES NOTHING TO CREATE A MORE RESPONSIBLE CFPB OVER THE LONG TERM. INSTEAD OF TAKING THIS OPPORTUNITY TO WORK TOGETHER TO BRING TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE CFPB, THE MAJORITY’S MOVING A BILL THAT DOES LITTLE MORE THAN ADVANCE THEIR POLITICAL AGENDA AND MICROMANAGE THE BUREAU. H.R. 1500 CODIFIES AND RECREATES OFFICES INSIDE THE CFPB, SOME OF WHICH ARE GIVEN MORE AUTHORITY AND SOME OF WHICH, LIKE THE OFFICE OF COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS, ARE GIVEN LESS. H.R. 1500 ALSO DIRECTS THAT BUREAU STAFF — IT ACTUALLY DIRECTS WHAT BUREAU STAFF CAN REFER TO THE BUREAU AS IN PUBLIC. NOW, LET ME EXPLAIN. IF YOU CALL IT THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU UNDER THIS BILL, IT’S OK. IF YOU CALL IT THE CFPB, YOU’RE OK. IF YOU REFER TO IT AS THE BUREAU, YOU’VE ACTUALLY BROKEN THE LAW. UNDER THIS BILL. THAT’S ACTUALLY ONE OF THE MORE SUBSTANTIVE CHANGES IN THE BILL, ACTUALLY. AND I DON’T THINK IT’S WISE LEGISLATING BY CONGRESS. THAT REPRESENTS THE POLICY SIDE OF THE LEGISLATION. ONE LOOK AT THIS BILL’S FINDINGS IS ENOUGH TO TELL YOU THAT WHAT H.R. 1500 IS REALLY ABOUT, THERE ARE MORE PAGES OF FINDINGS THAN THERE ARE OF ACTUAL LEGISLATIVE TEXT. THE ISSUES THEY RAISE IN THE FINDINGS SECTIONS, HOWEVER, ARE NOT REMEDIED IN THE LEGISLATIVE TEXT PART OF THE BILL. IN A SERIES OF DISPARAGING STATEMENTS, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR MICK MULVANEY, A FORMER COLLEAGUE OF OURS HERE IN THE HOUSE, AND MEMBER OF THE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE, AND DIRECTOR KATHY KRANINGER ARE VILIFIED AS IRRESPONSIBLE ZEALOTS, SPECIFICALLY THE TEXT DESCRIBES FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR MULVANEY AS, QUOTE, ANTI-CONSUMER, QUOTE, DESTRUCTIVE, AND, QUOTE, INANE. . ONLY TO WORK TO HAMSTRING THE COMPASSION AND DEDICATION OF STAFF, END QUOTE. THE FINDINGS ALSO OPINE THAT, QUOT THE APPOINTMENT OF MR. MULVANEY AIMED TO DIMINISH AND UNDERMINE THE MISSION OF THE CONSUMER BUREAU, END QUOTE. THIS IS A HIGHLY SUSPECT SECTION OF LEGISLATION BEFORE THIS HOUSE. I DON’T THINK IT’S BECOMING OF THIS HOUSE TO OPINE IN THIS WAY. WHILE MICK MULVANEY MAY BE MANY THINGS, HE’S NOT ANTI-CONSUMER. NOW, I MAY SAY JOKINGLY HE IS DESTRUCTIVE, PROBABLY DESTRUCTIVE WITH HIS HUMOR, BUT NOT DESTRUCTIVE IN THE WORK HE ACHIEVES IN PUBLIC POLICY. I THINK HE’S A GOOD PUBLIC SERVANT SERVING OUR COUNTRY ADMIRABLY AND WITH THE WORK HE DID AT THE BUREAU HE WAS TRYING TO ACHIEVE THE BEST RESULTS POSSIBLE FOR CONSUMERS, INSTITUTIONS, FOR FINANCIAL SAFETY AND SOUNDNESS AND FOR THE ECONOMY AT LARGE. HE DID GOOD WORK. WITH THAT CONTEXT IN MIND, WE FLOW THAT — KNOW THAT THIS BILL IS NOT ABOUT HELPING CONSUMERS. IT’S RESTRAINING DIRECTORS. IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE MARKUP, REPUBLICANS HAD AMENDMENTS THAT WOULD HAVE MADE RESPONSIBLE CHANGES TO THE BUREAU. HAD THOSE AMENDMENTS BEEN ADOPTED, THE MAJORITY WOULD HAD A MUCH BETTER BILL. AN INSPECTOR GENERAL WOULD ENSURE THE MISSION OF THE AGENCY IS NOT UNDERMINES. THAT’S IMPORTANT FOR ALL BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT. SUBJECTING THE BUREAU TO ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS WOULD HAVE ALSO ENSURED CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT OF THE CFPB, OR THE BUREAU, AND A VOICE IN THE PRIORITIZATION OF BUREAU FUNCTIONS. A G.A.O. STUDY EXAMINED THE EFFICACY IN WHICH THE BUREAU MEETS ITS STATUTORY OBLIGATIONS. THAT WOULD HAVE ACTUALLY YIELDED INSIGHT IN THE WORKINGS OF THE OTHERWISE OPAQUE BUREAU, BUT THOSE AMENDMENTS WEREN’T ADOPTED. THE CHOICE WAS MADE TO REMOVE — TO MOVE FORWARD WITH A PARTISAN DECLARATION INSTEAD OF MEANINGFUL, BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION. THAT IS UNFORTUNATE. THANKFULLY THERE WILL BE A SENATE AND THE SENATE HAS A DIFFERENT VIEW ON THIS AND IT’S MY HOPE THIS BILL DOES NOT BECOME LAW. WELL, UNFORTUNATELY, WE CAN’T UNPROVE THIS LEGISLATION THROUGH A MEANINGFUL AMENDMENT PROCESS BECAUSE THE NATURE OF THE RULE PASSED BY THE RULES COMMITTEE. WE’RE MERELY ADDING MORE POLITICAL FODDER FOR PRESS RELEASES AS A RESULT OF THIS BILL. H.R. 1500 WILL PASS THE HOUSE AND WILL GO NOWHERE IN THE SENATE. THE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE WILL THEN TURN TO THE NEXT ISSUE. HOPEFULLY IT’S BIPARTISAN LEGISLATING WHERE CHAIRWOMAN WATERS AND I HAD SUCCESS IN THE PAST AND I HOPE WE HAVE SUCCESS IN THE FUTURE. BUT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, I SAY THAT THE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE REPUBLICANS REMAIN COMMITTED TO BETTERING THIS ORGANIZATION OF THE CFPB. WE WILL PROTECT CONSUMERS WHILE MAXIMIZING FINANCIAL CHOICE. WE’LL WORK TO ADVANCE SOLUTIONS, NOT SOUND BITES. AND IT’S MY SINCERE HOPE WE CAN DO THAT WITH COOPERATION FROM THE MAJORITY. I ASK MY COLLEAGUES TO JOIN ME IN OPPOSING H.R. 1500, LEGISLATION THAT PUTS POLITICS FIRST, NOT CONSUMERS. WITH THAT, I

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