Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, gave the following opening statement at today's full committee hearing on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (Consumer Bureau) Semi-Annual Reports to Congress with Director Richard Cordray:
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, Director Cordray, for joining us again to discuss the numerous ways in which the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continues to fight for hardworking Americans who have been harmed by illegal, predatory financial schemes. I would also like to thank you for your sustained strong leadership, despite unyielding Republican efforts to impede your work, and their unfounded desire to remove you from your position prior to the expiration of your term.
The Consumer Bureau has successfully recovered nearly $12 billion for 29 million consumers who have been victim to predatory financial practices. In addition, the Consumer Bureau has handled over a million consumer complaints and has worked diligently to promote clear disclosures and root out bad practices committed by financial institutions. The Consumer Bureau and Director Cordray are doing exactly the job they are supposed to do, and they are doing it well.
Following the foreclosure crisis, Congress recognized that Americans needed a new watchdog that could swiftly and effectively crack down on unscrupulous financial practices and products. In the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, we deliberated extensively and created a consumer agency with a single director that operates independently, in order to effectively serve consumers and regulate financial markets.
Despite what you will hear from Republicans, the leadership structure of the Consumer Bureau is not unique; in fact there are other federal regulatory agencies with similar structures. But these facts haven’t stopped Republicans and some in the industry from making legal challenges to its structure. That’s why last week I led forty other current and former Members of Congress to file a brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the Consumer Bureau’s independent structure and its clear constitutionality.
Republicans have been clamoring to weaken, impede, and ultimately destroy the Consumer Bureau since its creation. First, they did everything they could to block a Director from being appointed in the first place, and since then, they’ve pushed measures to defund and dismantle the Consumer Bureau. The Chairman has called for the Consumer Bureau to be “functionally terminated” and it is unclear why. There are constituents in every state who have been ripped off by financial institutions. Why aren’t Republicans fighting for them and for their financial security?
I reject these misguided attacks on the Consumer Bureau, and I will continue to stand up for the hardworking American consumers that the agency defends every day. The Consumer Bureau is an invaluable ally to consumers, and its work must continue.
Director Cordray, I look forward to hearing your testimony.
Thank you and I yield the balance of my time to the Vice Ranking Member, Mr. Kildee.