Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Mick Mulvaney raised eyebrows Wednesday when he turned in the agency’s quarterly funding request to the fed. The reason for the surprise was pretty simple: Mulvaney’s funding request was for zero dollars, according to Politico.
Why would the director of an agency ask for no funding at all?
Mulvaney’s stated reason for the unusual request was that the agency already has all the money it needs.
In a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen, Mulvaney said that the bureau already has $177 million in the bank, which is enough to cover the $145 million in expenses that the bureau is expected to incur this quarter.
In his letter, Mulvaney wrote, “While this approximately $145 million may not make much of a dent in the deficit, the men and women at the Bureau are proud to do their part to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
While this may be the stated reason, it’s difficult not to assume that Mulvaney’s barely concealed contempt for the agency that he heads is behind the unusual request. Mulvaney’s predecessor, Richard Cordray, always submitted a request for additional funding for the agency in order to account for possible overruns and to keep a cash reserve on hand, in keeping with normal policy for government agencies.
Mulvaney, however, has not been shy about his desire to rein in the CFPB. On his first day in office, he blasted the CFPB as an example of “bureaucracy gone wrong” and imposed a 30-day freeze on hiring and new rulemaking.
As a member of Congress, Mulvaney was a frequent critic of both Cordray, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, and the agency itself. He frequently introduced bills designed to countermand CFPB rules and was a regular antagonist of the agency in congressional hearings.
Most observers even consider Mulvaney’s appointment as the acting chief of the CFPB to have been a clear slap in the agency’s face. Cordray had tapped Leandra English as his successor, but President Donald Trump ignored the ordinary rules of succession and declared Mulvaney acting chief, touching off a legal battle that remains unresolved at this time.
At the time of his appointment, Mulvaney answered questions about why Trump would have nominated the agency’s harshest critic to be its acting chief by simply explaining that the president “wants me here.”
Mulvaney also remains the director of the Office of Management and Budget.