House Republicans and Elizabeth Warren don’t agree on much, including whether they had an arrangement allowing Warren to leave a subcommittee hearing where she was testifying Tuesday at a set time so she could make her other obligations.
Warren was testifying before a House Oversight subcommittee hearing held by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by the Wall Street reform law that Warren has been tasked with standing up for.
The title of the hearing was “Who’s Watching the Watchmen? Oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” but Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) said that the title of the Republican’s hearing should be “Let’s Pretend the Financial Crisis Never Happened.”
Republicans have moved to weaken the CFBP and threatened to filibuster any nominee to head the Bureau unless changes are made.
Maloney said the CFBP “fills a gaping hole in our regulatory framework,” and said the GOP was “holding the entire government hostage to their demands on dismantling this program.”
But much of the hearing was dedicated to a squabble between Warren and McHenry over an agreement about time constraints on her testimony. Warren contended that McHenry’s staff agreed to allow her to leave by 2:15 p.m. so she could make a meeting at 2:30 p.m., but McHenry said he agreed to nothing of the sort.
“Congressman, you told us one thing,” Warren said. “I have other obligations I committed to based on the representations of your staff, and our efforts to try to accommodate you and rearrange our schedule to accommodate you.”
“You had no agreement… you’re making this up, this is not the case,” McHenry said. “She accusing me of making an agreement that I never made.”
Eventually McHenry agreed to allow Warren to answer questions from the members who weren’t in attendance.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, strongly backed Warren at the hearing. Democrats have been encouraging President Barack Obama to give Warren a recess appointment to the CFBP.
“I don’t care what happens in this hearing today, I don’t care what is said, I’m begging you — I’m begging you — to keep the fire. I’ve got constituents who’ve lost so much, and they don’t even know how they’ve lost it. And we need you, we really desperately need your passion, your concern. Thank you for synchronizing your conscience with your conduct,” Cummings said. “May God bless you, stay on the battlefield.”
Late update: via Dave Weigel, here’s the video: