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Capito Opening Statement At Financial Services Subcommittee Hearing

 

Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Financial Institutions and Consumer Credithearing entitled “Legislative Proposals to Promote Accountability and Transparency at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

            I would like to thank members of the subcommittee and our witnesses for joining us today.   The topic of this morning’s hearing is legislative proposals to promote accountability and transparency at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.   We will be considering two bills, one authored by Mr. Neugebauer and another authored by Mr. Renacci, that address the funding of the bureau and responsibilities of the bureau’s director.  We will also be considering legislation introduced by Mr. Huizenga that seeks to address an oversight in the Dodd-Frank Act to ensure that information shared with the bureau is protected by the attorney-client privilege and work product immunity. 

            A little over a month ago, President Obama used his executive power to appoint Richard Cordray to be Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau using a recess appointment.  However, it is still unclear whether or not the Congress was technically in recess when he made the appointment.   While this may seem like a technicality to many across the nation, it will undoubtedly lead to significant litigation further damaging the credibility of the bureau.  

            As I stated nearly six months ago, the Administration has mishandled the appointment of the bureau’s director from the beginning.   The complexities of moving a nominee through the United States Senate are not new.  For an agency that was supposed to be the crown jewel of the Dodd-Frank Act, waiting until the last minute to appoint a nominee and then subsequently dismissing constitutionally mandated procedures for appointments creates a cloud of uncertainty over the bureau and its actions until this is resolved.

            The legislative proposals before us today are an important step in improving the accountability of this new agency.    The first measure, H.R. 1355, sponsored by Mr. Neugebauer, will remove bureau from the Federal Reserve and place it within the Department of the Treasury, where the bureau will subsequently be subject to the regular authorization, budget, and appropriations process.  The bureau’s stated goal is to regulate financial products, and it is prudent for members of Congress to have some say over the budget of an agency that could decide which financial products are appropriate for their constituents.     The second measure, H.R. 2081, sponsored by Mr. Renacci, moves the bureau director off of the FDIC board and fills the vacancy with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.   The primary goal of the FDIC is the safety and soundness of the institutions that benefit from the Deposit Insurance Fund and it is appropriate to have all of the prudential regulators represented on the FDIC board. 

            Finally, I would like to thank Mr. Huizenga for offering the final bill we will consider today, H.R. 3871.   We’ve worked with Mr. Huizenga to address an oversight in the Dodd-Frank Act to ensure information that is shared with bureau is treated as privileged information and cannot be shared with third parties.  It is our intent to move this legislation quickly, especially given Mr. Cordray’s recent statements that Congress “may want to look at a legislative fix.”  We hope our colleagues across the aisle will work with us on moving this without delay. 

            I would like to thank the three sponsors of the bills before the subcommittee today for their leadership and look forward to hearing testimony from our witnesses.       

            At this time, I would like to yield to my good friend the Ranking Member, Ms. Maloney for the purposes of giving an opening statement.