Tensions definitely boiled over during a House Financial Services Committee hearing yesterday after Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D-N.Y.] accused Kathy Kraninger, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of being “worthless” because the agency is not helping “consumers that have been harmed.”
Rep. Maloney later apologized for her remark and clarified she was referring to the agency itself and not Kraninger, but the comment was widely rebuked by Republicans on the committee, who largely praised Kraninger for her work and that of the agency she is in charge of.
The theatrics reminded Committee members and anyone who has watched previous hearings of the way that Republicans used to attack former director Richard Cordray.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley [D-Mass.], who recently introduced legislation that would prohibit the CFPB from enacting any rule that would allow collectors to send “unlimited” texts and emails when collecting on debts, got Kraninger to admit that if there are charges for a consumer to receive text messages from a collector that the consumer would be responsible for paying those fees. Rep. Pressley said that the CFPB’s proposed debt collection rule, which would allow collectors to send emails and text messages to individuals, could cost individuals as much as $1,400 per year.
Kraninger was also called on to defend her decision that the leadership structure of the CFPB is unconstitutional and that she has too much power. Kraninger said that the question of whether a single director who can only be removed for cause is keeping the CFPB from pursuing its mission to protect consumers.
“The constitutional question has delayed many enforcement actions, it has delayed regulatory actions and has been something that I believe fundamentally the Supreme Court and Congress need to decide and settle, once and for all, so that the bureau can move forward and finish and actually engaged in its mission,” Kraninger said.
To coincide with the hearing, Rep. Maxine Waters [D-Calif.], the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, and her fellow Democrats on the committee, released a 333-page report, called “Settling For Nothing: How Kraninger’s CFPB Leaves Consumers High and Dry.”