Washington, D.C. - At an Executive Session to markup the nominations of Mary Jo White to be Chairman of the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) and Richard Cordray to be Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, made the following remarks:
Mr. Chairman, I believe that we had a very good hearing last week regarding the nominations.
The hearing gave the Committee an opportunity to better understand the qualifications that Ms. White and Mr. Cordray put forth to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), respectively.
With respect to Ms. White, I fully support her nomination.
Currently, the SEC is facing many demands, and expectations are high for the agency to complete all of its pending tasks in a timely manner.
Ms. White gave a very clear commitment to pursue the SEC's statutory mandates which are to protect investors, to maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets and to facilitate capital formation.
Her commitment to continue the high standard for economic and regulatory analyses is extremely important.
She understands that the SEC cannot rush its regulatory process without understanding fully the risks, burdens and unintended consequences of its proposals.
I also appreciate the high priority she will give to small business capital formation.
Ms. White received broad support on both sides of the aisle in last week's hearing and I support moving her nomination out of the Committee.
With respect to Mr. Cordray, I greatly appreciate that he has reached out to me and to the Republican members of the Committee. He and I had a very good and very candid phone conversation prior to the hearing.
However, the issue with this nomination is a broader debate over the structural creation of new federal departments, agencies and entities.
Some are calling our need for structural changes unnecessary. However, this is not true.
As I stated at the hearing last week, the CFPB was established unlike any other federal department or agency.
Regardless of the administration in charge, Republican or Democrat, the CFPB's structure needs to be revised to fit the models of traditional departments and agencies. Otherwise, it will continue to lack the necessary accountability and transparency.
For example, at the hearing last week, I raised the issue that the CFPB had spent more than $150 million on contracts and support services in 2012.
When my staff went to USAspending.gov, they found only $58 million in total contracts listed. This is far short of the $150 million spent by CFPB. And many of the listed contracts were considered "sole source" contracts, meaning there was no public competitive bidding.
This greatly concerns me. Where is the transparency? Where is the accountability?
To alleviate these and other concerns, I reiterate my belief that structural changes to the CFPB are essential.
As I mentioned at the hearing, members of the Republican Caucus sent a letter to the President objecting to the confirmation of any head of the CFPB unless structural changes are made to the agency.
Structural and other changes at the agency are areas I believe we can work together as it will improve the operation of the CFPB and improve transparency and accountability.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.