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
Attorney General Jeff Sessions will again testify before Congress on Tuesday, speaking with the House Judiciary Committee for what is nominally a routine oversight hearing. However, Democrats on the committee are expected to grill Sessions with questions pertaining to Russian meddling in the 2016 elections and the Trump campaign's alleged involvement. Indeed, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) told ABC News he is "amazed that [Sessions] agreed to come before the committee" given the reception he can anticipate.
Representatives' questions will be similar to those posed to Sessions in a letter the committee's Democrats sent the attorney general a week ago. The letter addresses recent revelations about Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos and the campaign's communications with the Russian government more broadly, noting that the "facts appear to contradict [Sessions'] sworn testimony on several occasions" and threatening compulsory testimony should Sessions fail to address "these inconsistencies."