GOP Grills Would-Be Consumer Czar

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WASHINGTON – Republican lawmakers continued their assault this morning on Elizabeth Warren, the champion of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, just days before the new agency is scheduled to open its doors.

Patrick McHenry, the North Carolina Republican who has tangled with Warren in recent weeks, assailed the consumer figure as being evasive about her role in negotiations over abuses in the mortgage foreclosure crisis. Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle of New York asked Warren what plans she has to add to business compliance costs and thus “hurt job growth.”

Another GOP lawmaker, Jason Chaffetz of Utah, criticized Warren for spending to develop the fledgling federal agency, estimated to cost $500 million to create. “You seem to be hiding the details of how you come up with these numbers,” he said.

The hearing got so heated that Democrats on the panel assailed their Republican colleagues for being rude to Warren.

Warren, who has testified at more than a dozen congressional hearings this year, was appearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. She told the panel that the Consumer agency has already hired 400 people and is ready to commence the supervision of financial products on July 21, as required under last year’s Wall Street reform law.

Republicans have vowed to block Warren from being named permanent director of the new agency, even as she works as an advisor to the Treasury Department to put the agency together. Republican Senators have promised to block President Obama from seating Warren as a recess appointee but preventing the Senate from having any official recess, even to the point of keeping the body in session during last week’s July 4th holiday.

 

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