Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) on Thursday accused Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) acting director Mick Mulvaney of hurting Americans and taking joy in making her upset.
Questioning Mulvaney during a Senate committee hearing, Warren outlined her view that the CFPB is vital to stopping financial scams. She also criticized Mulvaney, a former Republican congressman from South Carolina, for having voted with his party to abolish the bureau. The senator then focused on how Mulvaney, while at the CFPB, has not used enforcement tools as aggressively as she thinks he should, saying he takes "joy" in how upset this makes her.
"You've taken obvious joy in talking about how the agency will help banks a lot more than it will help consumers and how upset this must make me," Warren told Mulvaney.
"This isn't about me," she added. "This is about … millions of other people who need someone on their side when consumers get cheated. You are hurting real people to score cheap political points."
She accused Mulvaney of supporting policies that would allow companies to "steal" from consumers. When Mulvaney said other agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), had jurisdiction to handle those claims, Warren argued other agencies cannot be expected to "magically" do what she wants the CFPB to do.
"Why would it be more magic to have the FTC do it than the bureau?" Mulvaney interjected.
"They have a history of not doing this," Warren replied.
Warren argued that Mulvaney opposes those other agencies taking action under their own jurisdiction.
"Let’s not kid ourselves, let’s not pretend like you hope that some other agency would do that work, Mr. Mulvaney," she said, arguing other legislation Mulvaney supported would have made it harder for the federal government to crack down on financial scams.
Warren originally proposed the creation of the CFPB, which has faced criticism for being unaccountable to Congress and being constitutionally dubious. She has argued the bureau should have sweeping independence, which is why she opposed Mulvaney's appointment on the grounds that President Donald Trump is not even allowed to choose the agency's director.
Trump installed Mulvaney as the acting director last year, and a court found the president does have the authority to appoint its director.