GOP vs. Warren: Hearing Turns Ugly

In a heated back and forth exchange between Prof. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) during a House subcommittee hearing Tuesday, Rep. McHenry was pointed out as having accused Prof. Warren of lying. (See video below.)

In referring to the scheduling of the hearing and a delay in allowing Warren to step down from the witness stand, Warren said they had an agreement about the time the hearing would end. “You’re making this up, Ms. Warren,” Rep. McHenry replied.


The exchange comes at a time when Warren, who is charged with setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has been widely criticized by House Republicans who have publicly stated they will not support her nomination as the Bureau’s chief, should President Obama decide to nominate her.

In defending the Bureau against “false claims” before the House of Representatives, according to prepared remarks, Warren said Tuesday, “I have been told that if you say anything in Washington often enough, it is eventually treated as fact—regardless of whether it is true or false,” she said. “While making baseless claims might be shrewd tactics for those who want to undermine the Bureau’s work, they are flatly wrong.”

Further, Warren said, “False claims about CFPB’s power also ignore the structural oversight and accountability that limit the reach of the CFPB. Warren outlined several forms of oversight of the agency, such as being the only bank regulator whose rules can be overruled by a council made up of other federal agencies, and the only bank regulator that is expressly limited in its ability to determine its own funding, and, so long as it has the tools, the CFPB will be that agency.”

View Warren’s remarks.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • How ridiculous.  Only the Senate confirms Presidential appointments.  So how do House Republicans figure into supporting her at all. 

    Ms. Warren claimed that the Representative was in error and the conversation did not occur as he claimed.  So she called him a liar by implication and he did it in fact.  Another he said/she said.

    Like has been said before, she WILL be made the first Director by recess appointment so why waste time and space with this silly exchange.  RMD should just proclaim her the first CFPB Director and let the other news sources follow.  What can go wrong?  Neither the President nor his staff are providing the Press or anyone else with a short list or any other kind of list of potential nominees.  She has no competitors for the job, period.

  • What a difference between the conduct of Bernanke and Warren.  Both have had their positions and agencies attacked by Republicans.  Ms. Warren seems far more easily riled and manipulated by her opponents.

    Unlike some other confrontations, her temper seems somewhat under control in this short video.  However, I expect her temper will not serve her well.  I hope she is not expecting any help from this committee.

  • John,
    Most of the time we agree.  Here is one time we do not. 
    While I wish the budget would allow it or these Democratic Senators would have proactively conceded some type of reduction in another area of the budget agreeable to House Republicans, there is a real philosophical question as to why the public debt should be increased (for counseling related to home ownership) and the American taxpayer have to incur ongoing interest due to this cost.
    It is tiring to hear how the HECM program is self-supporting and then hear the cries when federal funding for HECM counseling stops.  It is either one or the other.  The truth is the HECM program has never been truly self-supporting.  At least some of its administrative costs are paid for through the HUD general appropriation per several industry analysts.
    Mortgagee Letter 08-28 against mortgagee funding of counseling like at least one other ML (08-38) that year were not stellar models of HUD thinking.  If Congress will not fund counseling, HUD should fund it through a HECM endorsement fee which is not an out-of-pocket cash cost upfront but is charged to borrowers like any other closing cost such as origination fees.  That seems like the best way to do especially if counseling fees are going up due to FIT and BCU.

    Better than raising counseling fees would be to get rid of FIT and permanently decouple BCU from counseling.

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