The ill will between Democrats and Republicans in the controversy over appointing an acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief adds a new wrinkle to bipartisan efforts to pass regulatory relief.
The former heads of the House and Senate banking committees argued Thursday that the Dodd-Frank Act clearly intended to allow the CFPB's deputy director to serve as acting director after the full-time head of the agency departed.
Richard Cordray took a big gamble in his final act as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, attempting to appoint his own interim successor. He lost Tuesday, but he was far from the only one.
District Judge Timothy J. Kelly ruled Tuesday that Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was the legal interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, denying a request by Deputy Director Leandra English to block the appointment.
Employees at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are privately questioning why outgoing director Richard Cordray abruptly tapped a 34-year-old chief of staff with no enforcement, supervisory or legal experience to head the embattled agency after he resigned.
OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said he would "fix" the CFPB by ensuring it protected consumers without cutting off access to financial services. His comments came as a federal judge declined to rule yet on the legality of Mulvaney's appointment.
Leadership at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is expected to be resolved quickly after a federal court Monday assigned a judge appointed by President Trump to resolve a lawsuit over who will become the agency's acting director.
The Trump administration insisted Saturday that OMB Director Mick Mulvaney was the rightful interim leader of the CFPB, but Democrats said that the appointment was illegal. It remains unclear who is legally in charge.
The regulatory relief bill would raise the SIFI threshold to $250 billion of assets and allow mortgages held in portfolio to be counted as "qualified," among other items, but it is far less sweeping than institutions had hoped.