It’s no secret the way politics really work in this country. There are those tell-tale signs that show even the most removed soul where the priorities are. Right or wrong, it’s what drives this country we call home. In recent years, though, there have been decisions, actions and changes that have left many simply speechless. The latest move, courtesy of a Texas Republican, has even this die-hard Republican furious. It’s time for Jeb Hensarling to rethink his career options.
New Banking Laws
When the Obama Administration announced it would be taking steps to rein in the nation’s biggest banks, many were skeptical, but hopeful that any changes would finally shut those arrogant and narcissistic personalities down. Those like Jamie Dimon come to mind. He’s the outspoken, controversial and egotistical soul that runs JPMorgan Chase. Anyone who’s read anything I’ve written in the pat few years knows just how deep my distaste for this man runs. He is absolutely infuriating – but he’s just one of many.
Soon, Obama signed into law new financial rules that even Dimon was forced to play by. The laws were then – and are still now – controversial. Some I agree with, some I don’t, but there’s no denying the decision to put into place a consumer watchdog group will likely be the one good thing Obama will be remembered for (and y’all know how I feel about the Obama Administration). Soon, the Republicans cried foul and were adamantly opposed to the laws and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Obama stood his ground though and while the Dodd Frank Financial Laws fall significantly short of serving their purpose, the 2010 CARD Act, which provides for the founding of CFPB, was a home run.
Congress refused to acknowledge CFPB Director Richard Cordray, even after Obama appointed him. Days following the swearing in by Obama, a federal appeals court ruled that the process used to swear him in was constitutionally invalid. This means Cordray has been going about the business of running CFPB without the legalities (albeit suddenly defined legalities) that make it proper. Now, Hensarling has latched onto that like a starving vegetarian who’s just discovered rib-eye steak.
This week, as Cordray prepared to testify in front of Congress about the state of his agency, Hensarling piped up and complained, “The court’s unanimous ruling makes it clear that there is no legally-appointed director of the CFPB at this time.” He went further and 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.”
Meanwhile, had Cordray been given the opportunity, he would have testified on a number of events that his agency – and his agency alone – has put into place to protect you and me and every other American consumer.
Among the accomplishments in the past six months:
- CFPB has secured $425 million in relief for more than 6 million consumers (and this the one agency that actually refunds consumers instead of calling them “fines” and adding them to government coffers)
- CFPB is successfully addressing more than 130,000 complaints on anything from credit card billing practices and banks to overpriced payday loans that often have interest rates of 300% annually
- CFPB also just announced new laws on how consumers will be treated when it comes to buying a house. Several of the nation’s biggest banks and insurance companies are gouging homeowners on private mortgage insurance (PMI). The banks are taking financial kickbacks and CFPB is the one kicking back – and putting a halt to it. There are already lawsuits being filed – and federal judges are allowing those homeowners to sue. It’s all because of Cordray and CFPB.
So why would Congress be opposed to an agency that protects its members’ constituents? I’ve asked that question a million times. It all comes down to the same thing:
The new financial laws prevent bankers and politicians from padding their pockets. The new laws mean oversight and that means the banks must follow by ethical and legal rules. They don’t like it.
Here are just a few of the ridiculous actions/comments Jeb Hensarling’s made in recent days:
“The committee intends to continue to conduct rigorous oversight of the CFPB’s activities, and will expect the CFPB’s cooperation in those efforts, including making other employees available to testify at committee hearings and responding fully to committee requests for documents and information.”
(It’s clear he wants complete control of CFPB so that he can put a lid on it. He has no interest in hearing from Cordray, but Hensarling wants CFPB employees to appear when he commands.)
Hensarling sent a letter to the lawyers for CFPB and said Obama’s appointment was invalid because Senate was in recess. He says that the laws dictate the only way he and his fellow politicians can hear testimony is if it’s “from a director who is appointed in accordance with the Constitution.”
(Cordray has testified numerous times in the past – and no one complained.)
Earlier this week, he sent Cordray a letter as well, in which he stated:
“Absent contrary guidance from the United States Supreme Court, you do not meet the statutory requirements of a validly-serving director of the CFPB, and cannot be recognized as such,”
Finally, remember that Senator Elizabeth Warren also caught hell from Republicans and has since taken a step back until it’s all hashed out. That’s a shame because she came with guns blazing, ready to work alongside Dems and Pubs – and CFPB. Instead, the Senate again refused to confirm her.
At a minimum, Hensarling needs to be stripped of his title as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. It’s clear his priorities are not in line with the same folks who elected him into office. He has ulterior motives and appears to be doing very little to hide them.