WASHINGTON — Top Democrats in the House and Senate sent a letter to Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday questioning his decision to delay the implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s payday loan rule.

“We have a number of questions about the sudden reversal of the CFPB’s positions” including the payday rule, a case against four installment lenders and an investigation into a payday lender, said the letter, which was led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, and signed by four other Democrats.

Under Mulvaney’s leadership, the CFPB announced on Jan. 16 that it was reconsidering the payday loan rule. Two days later, it dismissed a case against the installment lenders and on Jan. 22 dropped an investigation into World Acceptance Corp.

Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California and ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.
A letter signed by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., questions who gave acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney legal advice on reconsidering the agency's payday loan rule. Bloomberg News

“The agency barely explained its payday rule reversal,” said the letter, which was also addressed to Leandra English, who was former CPFB Director Richard Cordray’s chief of staff and tapped to be the acting director before the position was given to Mulvaney. A case challenging Mulvaney’s status as head of the agency is still pending.

The letter questions Mulvaney’s reasoning after telling reporters in December that there wasn’t much he thought the bureau could do to stop the payday rule from going into effect. At the time, he said, the best course for stopping the rule would be for Congress to use the Congressional Review Act to reverse it.

The letter also asks for a list of people who provided Mulvaney legal advice on the payday rule and to detail meetings that newly appointed staff attended where the rule was discussed.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Jeff Merkley or Oregon and Reps. Al Green of Texas and Keith Ellison of Minnesota also signed the letter.

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