Senate Democrats to Trump: Do not fire CFPB director, you’ve been warned

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Senate Democrats are adamantly fighting back against growing calls for President-elect Donald Trump to fire Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray.

On a press call on Tuesday, Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, D-New York, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Banking Committee Ranking Member Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, reinforced previous calls that firing Cordray would shatter Trump’s promise to keep Wall Street accountable.  

In conjunction with the call, the three senators, along with other Senate Banking Committee Democrats, sent to a letter to Cordray, praising him for his outstanding work as director of the CFPB, emphasizing the need for his leadership at the agency in Trump’s Administration.

Last week, Trump met with former Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, since he is considering Neugebauer to run the CFPB. While Neugebauer has yet to be offered the job, no other candidates are being looked at yet.

However, right now, Neugebauer can only take over the CFPB if Trump fires Cordray when he takes office. And under current law, the president may only remove the director for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.” Warren emphasized during the call that “no agency has been fired for cause. It’s an extreme and unprecedented step.”

“To make it clear,” Warren said. “Under Richard Cordray, the CFPB is doing its job on behalf of the American people. The CFPB is working, and Cordray has been a successful leader of the agency.”

She noted that at some point there will be a different president, and at that point, that president can appoint someone. However, “right now, we have someone who stands up for the consumer. We want to hang onto that person, as the law requires,” she said.

Schumer equated firing Cordray to there being no cop on the beat. “The person fighting the same regulatory that sparked the Great Recession would be gone,” he said.

And if Trump did select Neugebauer to replace Cordray, Schumer said it would be the equivalent of putting a sharped toothed fox in the chicken coop and putting the biggest arsonists in the firehouse.

Brown rhetorically asked, “Why would Trump want to go after the bureau in his first week of office?” And if he did, Senate Democratic wouldn’t let him go easily

“If he tries to act outside of the law, there would be a real battle in court,” said Warren. “This isn’t the thing where he can say you’re fired and cut to commercial.”

Schumer said, “If trump intends to keep any of his promises, he would keep Richard Cordray as his CFPB director.

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