On Wednesday, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney will make his first appearance before Congress as the head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), testifying before his former colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee. Last week, Mulvaney asked Congress to weaken and reign in the independence of the CFPB, and Democrats will likely ask him why the bureau has dropped cases against payday lenders and not issued any enforcement actions since President Trump appointed him in November. Under the previous CFPB head, Richard Cordray, the bureau announced moves to stop banks from certain practices or return money to consumers — between its founding in 2011 and Mulvaney's interim appointment, the CFPB returned $12 billion to consumers from financial institutions.
Supporters of the consumer protection bureau might also ask why Mulvaney has started to refer to the agency as the more bureaucratic-sounding Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. "The right will treat Mr. Mulvaney as a noble hero doing yeoman's work and the left will treat him as a villain methodically unwinding the consumer protection regulatory regime," said Isaac Boltansky at Compass Point Research & Trading, previewing this week's testimony. Mulvaney faces the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, where he is expected to butt heads with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who helped set up the bureau. Peter Weber