Democrats in Congress are banning together to make sure Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray won’t be prematurely unseated amid strengthening calls from Republicans to have the director fired.
In an email to HousingWire, the CFPB director is clear in the course he will be taking in the short term.
Democrat leaders in both the House of Representatives and Senate made public statements to defend and support Cordray’s full five-year term at the CFPB.
“Under Richard Cordray’s leadership, the CFPB has returned $12 billion to servicemembers, seniors, and working Americans who’ve been ripped off by shady debt collectors, for-profit schools, payday lenders, and huge banks like Wells Fargo,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. “Firing Cordray and abolishing the consumer bureau so the special interests can get their $12 billion back would shatter President-elect Donald Trump's promise to hold Wall Street accountable and protect working people.”
Brown published the statement to urge Trump to reject efforts by predatory lenders and those in Congress who want to remove Cordray before his term expires in July 2018.
Financial Services Committee Democrats, led by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., also wrote a joint letter, demanding that Trump reject any attempts to deregulate Wall Street by removing Cordray.
“Any attempts to remove Director Cordray from his position are without historical precedent, and intended solely to distract the Director and the Bureau from its important work protecting servicemembers, students and other borrowers from financial predation,” the lawmakers wrote. “We caution you not to engage in partisan litigation, particularly since it is likely to be unsuccessful and will needlessly divert government resources away from other important priorities.”
The letter also reminded Trump about all the work Cordray has done since he’s been in office to help consumers.
“As director of the bureau, Cordray has continued his impressive record of taking on powerful special interests when they violate the law. To date, the CFPB has returned nearly $12 billion to more than 27 million consumers harmed by illegal, predatory financial schemes. Indeed, in the Bureau’s short five-year history, it has brought more than 100 cases against financial firms ranging from fraudulent debt collectors to payday lenders trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt,” the letter stated.
The strong defense from the Democrats follows a recent letter from Republicans pushing for Trump to fire Cordray.
On Monday, U.S. Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, urged the incoming administration to fire Cordray in a letter.
"It's time to fire King Richard," said Sasse, a member of the Senate Banking Committee. "Underneath the CFPB's Orwellian acronym is an attack on the American idea that the people who write are laws are accountable to the American people. President-elect Trump has the authority to remove Cordray and that's exactly what the American people deserve."
Under the current law, the president may remove the director for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office."
However, the letter from Financial Services Committee Democrats reminded Trump that no president has ever removed an independent agency head for cause.
And Cordray shows no signs that he plans on leaving on his own accord. CFPB spokesperson Jen Howard said in a statement, “Director Cordray was confirmed by a bipartisan group of 66 senators to serve a term until July 2018 and has no plans to step down.”