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Public Statements

Executive Session

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCONNELL. This morning the Senate will vote whether the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should be able to put a director in place before concerns about its accountability to the American people are addressed. Let me stress that is all today's vote is about. Today's vote is about accountability and transparency. It is a debate about whether we think Americans need more oversight over Washington or less.

Republicans made our position clear more than 7 months ago when 44 of us signed a letter saying we will not support a nominee for this Bureau, no matter who the President is, until three commonsense conditions are met that would bring some transparency and accountability to the CFPB. That letter now has 45 signatories.

The President knew about these concerns months ago and he chose to dismiss them. Now he is suddenly making a push to confirm his nominee because it fits into some picture he wants to paint about who the good guys are and who the bad guys are here in Washington. So, once again, Democrats are using the Senate floor this week to stage a little political theater. They are setting up a vote they know will fail so they can act shocked about it later. This is what passes for leadership at the White House right now.

The President has made his choice about how to deal with this issue, and we have made ours. What we have said is that until this or any other President addresses these legitimate concerns, we cannot and will not support a nominee. Here is what we said in that letter 7 months ago: First, replace the single Director with a board of directors who would oversee the Bureau. Second, subject the Bureau to the congressional appropriations process. Third, allow other financial regulators to provide a check on CFPB rules so they don't imperil the health of financial institutions and lead to unnecessary bank failures.

Look, everybody supports strong and effective oversight, but that has to include the overseers as well. Unelected bureaucrats must be held accountable to the American people, and that is exactly what our proposal would do. So it is up to the President. Republicans have outlined our concerns and they are well known. We are not going to let the President put another unelected czar in place, unaccountable to the American people. And, frankly, his refusal to work with us only deepens our concerns. The CFPB requires reforms before any nominee can be confirmed. It is time the President takes these concerns seriously.

I look forward to hearing from the President on this issue so we can put in place the kind of oversight and accountability the American people expect in an agency of this size and this scope. Until then, I will vote against this nominee for the CFPB and any others that this or any other President sends until he works to fix the problems, until he brings transparency to this bureaucracy and accountability to the American people.

I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.


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