Tag Archive: Elizabeth Warren

Sep 18 2013

Be Careful What You Ask For

The progressive Democrats of the Senate got Larry Summers to withdraw from consideration for chair of the Federal Reserve over the weekend. So now they’re yellin’ for Yellen. Well, folks Janet Yellen the current vice chair of the Federal Reserve is just the distaff version of Larry minus the misogyny.

Huffington Post‘s senior political economy reporter Zach Carter gives a rundown of Ms. Yellen’s policy history before and during her tenure as chair of Council of Economic Advisers in the Clinton administration. During that time she backed the repeal of the landmark Glass-Steagall bank reform, supported the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement and pressured the government to develop a new statistical metric intended to lower payments to senior citizens on Social Security. Yes, dears, that last one would be an earlier version of the Chained CPI.

But in the 1990s, Yellen and Summers both served in the Clinton administration, and pursued many of the same policies. Yellen began serving as Chair of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers in 1997, and publicly endorsed repealing Glass-Steagall’s separation between traditional bank lending and riskier securities trading during her Senate confirmation hearing. Yellen referred to deregulating banking as a way to “modernize” the financial system, and indicated that breaking down Glass-Steagall could be the beginning of a process allowing banks to merge with other commercial and industrial firms. [..]

At the same event, Yellen endorsed establishing a new statistical metric that would allow the federal government to reduce Social Security payments over time, by revising the consumer price index, or CPI, the government’s standard measurement for inflation. [..]

Before Yellen joined the Clinton administration, she was a respected economist at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1993, she joined dozens of other academics in signing a letter to Clinton advocating for the North American Free Trade Agreement. The letter was signed by prominent conservative economists including Milton Friedman, but also by many economists who are now considered progressive, including Paul Krugman and former Obama adviser Christina Romer. Krugman has since expressed disappointment with some of the trade pact’s effects.

(all emphasis mine)

The full transcript of Ms. Yellen’s Feb. 5, 1997 conformation hearing can be read here (pdf).

To be fair on the Glass-Steagall repeal, Ezra Klein weighed in at his Washington Post Wonkblog:

Another point here is that Glass-Steagall really wasn’t behind the crisis. Wonkblog’s Glass-Steagall explainer has much more detail on this, but perhaps the simplest way to make the point is to quote Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the lead sponsor behind the bill to restore Glass-Steagall. When Andrew Ross Sorkin asked her whether the law would’ve prevented the financial crisis or JP Morgan’s subsequent losses, she said, “the answer is probably ‘No’ to both.” There are good reasons to bring back Glass-Steagall, but they’re separate from the events of 2007 and 2008.

Which is only to say that supporting the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1997 doesn’t say that much about somebody’s opinions on regulating Wall Street today. And, in general, we don’t know very much about Janet Yellen’s views on the subject. As I’ve argued before, the support for her on this dimension (as opposed to on the monetary policy dimension) really comes from an anybody-but-Summers impulse.

Carter also noted in his article that Ms. Yellen is more consumer friendly. During her tenure as president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve from June 14, 2004 until 2010, she identified the housing bubble and urged stronger regulation to limit its damage.

This still leaves a lot of questions about whether she would support the chained CPI, that is very unpopular among seniors and the public in general, or support regulation to rein in the TBTF banks. As lambert at Corrente puts it:

“Be careful what you wish for; you might get it” was made for situations like this.

So let’s not confuse a solid base hit with a game-winning grand slam, OK?

Sep 17 2013

Long Term Paybacks

A long time ago, after an incident that had left me particularly furious with a disagreeable colleague, a friend told me to be patient eventually this person would fall on his own petard. After all, it wasn’t the short term paybacks that one needs to worry about, its the long term paybacks that get them in the end. And so it was, some years later, my nemesis got too arrogant, made some foolhardy decisions and was forced to retire in disgrace. I had long since moved on another path that was ultimately more satisfying but when I heard the story of his fall I had to wryly smile.

Over the weekend, after some weeks of speculation about who would succeed Ben Bernanke as chair of the Federal Reserve, President Barack Obama’s rumored favorite, his former chief economics adviser, Larry Summers, withdrew his name from consideration. Mr. Summers had come under fire from the progressive left for his Chicago School economic policies and his past history as President Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary. It was during Summer tenure as Treasury head that Glass-Steagal was repealed leading to the current economic mess. Add to that his misogynistic attitude and the rise of one of the women to whom he was so dismissive and you have the recipe for the down fall of one of the most “dickish” (Charlie Pierce’s term) personalities in government.

Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post Ryan Grim summarized Larry’s fall from grace:

A progressive-populist coalition fueled by women’s groups and high-end donors was responsible for undoing President Barack Obama’s bid to install Larry Summers as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. [..]

The five opposing senators were a combination of traditional progressives — Merkley, Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) — and prairie populists — Jon Tester (Mont.) and, according to three Senate Democratic sources, Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.). Tester’s opposition was reported Friday by Reuters; Heitkamp’s intention was not previously public. [..]

Meanwhile, a coalition of progressive groups — which included UltraViolet and the National Organization for Women, two powerful women’s groups — teamed with the big donors and grassroots advocacy groups to pressure Banking Committee members and other Senate Democrats. ..]  The donors, who were mostly women, had [concerns that ranged from populist to feminist. [..]

Merkley, according to another aide, spoke to Democratic senators on the committee during caucus meetings on Tuesday and Thursday, and made Summers’ closeness to Wall Street and prior support for deregulation the key element of his pitch. He homed in on Summers’ backing for the Glass-Steagall repeal, which allowed banks to grow much larger and take on more risk. He also highlighted Summers’ opposition to regulating derivatives in a battle with then-Commodity Futures Trading Commission head Brooksley Born. Summers took both positions as treasury secretary during the Clinton administration. To make the point that Summers had not revised his approach, Merkley noted his intense behind-the-scenes opposition to the Volcker Rule, an attempt to reinstate some of Glass-Steagall’s restrictions that was added to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law by Merkley and Brown. [..]

Summers had also opposed naming Warren to permanently head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a decision that came back to haunt him, as Warren instead ran for the Senate and won a spot on the Banking Committee, where she has now helped tank Summers’ shot at the Fed chairmanship.

Essentially, Larry Summers was the author of his own demise. As Charlie Pierce observes:

The fact is that Senator Professor Warren was one of the driving forces behind a genuine populist uprising of liberal Democratic senators — and Jon Tester, too — and that uprising has kicked Larry Summers to the curb. She has quietly carved out a leadership role in the one area in which she is an acknowledged expert. (What she will do if it ever comes to a vote on making war in Syria is anybody’s guess.) Quite simply, she is doing what she said she would do when she was running for the Senate. She has enough allies to get done a lot of what she wants to get done. Anything this president — or his successor — wants to do as far as national economic policy now has to go through her, and through the coalition to which she belongs. I still don’t think the president will nominate Janet Yellin — He’s got his back up about it now — but whoever he does nominate is going to have to have a chat with the nice professor in the glasses who’s got just a few questions she’d like to ask.

I’m sure there are a lot of women, from Brooksley Born to Christina Romer, wryly smiling. Long term paybacks can be very satisfying.

Jul 17 2013

Liz Warren Slays CNBC

CNBC’s Squackbox invited Sen. Elizabeth Warren on to discuss her bipartisan supported 21st Glass-Stegall Bill. I will only say, Elizabeth Warren for President 2016.

That had to hurt.

Jul 16 2013

Sen. Warren Revives Glass-Steagall, Break up TBTF

Last week Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.),  Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Angus King (I-Maine), introduced legislation that rein in the excesses of the Too Big Too Fail banks. The bill would require banks that accept federally insured deposits to focus on traditional lending and would bar them from engaging in risky securities trading. It would also bar banks that accept insured deposits from dealing swaps or operating hedge funds and private equity enterprises.

The legislation introduced today would separate traditional banks that have savings and checking accounts and are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from riskier financial institutions that offer services such as investment banking, insurance, swaps dealing, and hedge fund and private equity activities. This bill would clarify regulatory interpretations of banking law provisions that undermined the protections under the original Glass-Steagall and would make “Too Big to Fail” institutions smaller and safer, minimizing the likelihood of a government bailout.

“Since core provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act were repealed in 1999, shattering the wall dividing commercial banks and investment banks, a culture of dangerous greed and excessive risk-taking has taken root in the banking world,” said Senator John McCain. “Big Wall Street institutions should be free to engage in transactions with significant risk, but not with federally insured deposits. If enacted, the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act would not end Too-Big-to-Fail.  But, it would rebuild the wall between commercial and investment banking that was in place for over 60 years, restore confidence in the system, and reduce risk for the American taxpayer.”

“Despite the progress we’ve made since 2008, the biggest banks continue to threaten the economy,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren.  “The four biggest banks are now 30% larger than they were just five years ago, and they have continued to engage in dangerous, high-risk practices that could once again put our economy at risk.  The 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act will reestablish a wall between commercial and investment banking, make our financial system more stable and secure, and protect American families.”

Five Facts About the New Glass-Steagall

by Simon Johnson, Bloomberg The Ticker

Naturally, Wall Street will respond with a huge disinformation campaign, saying that the bill would cause the sky to fall. As the debate intensifies, keep in mind the following five points.

1) The bill would actually help small banks, because it would force the taxpayer-subsidized megabanks and related financial companies to break up. [..]

2) The simplifying intent of the 21st century Glass-Steagall Act is complementary to other serious reform efforts underway, including plans for the “resolution,” or managed liquidation, of any financial firm that fails. [..]

3) Proponents of big banks will claim that the breakdown of the original Glass-Steagall Act (which separated commercial and investment banking) did not contribute to the crisis of 2007-08. [..]

4) As the preamble to the 21st century Glass-Steagall Act points out, it represents a convergence with European reform thinking, as seen in the Vickers Report (for the U.K.) and the Liikanen Report (for Europe more broadly). [..]

5) The Treasury Department is not going to welcome the legislation — in fact, it may assist in mobilizing opposition. At this stage, this is an advantage, not a problem. Treasury has a severe case of reform fatigue. It’s time for someone else to carry the ball.

Remember Citigroup

by Simon Johnson, Huffington Post

The strangest argument against the Act is that it would not have prevented the financial crisis of 2007-08. This completely ignores the central role played by Citigroup.

It is always a mistake to suggest there is any panacea that would prevent crises — either in the past or in the future. And none of the senators — Maria Cantwell of Washington, Angus King of Maine, John McCain of Arizona, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — proposing the legislation have made such an argument. But banking crises can be more or less severe, depending on the nature of the firms that become most troubled, including their size relative to the financial system and relative to the economy, the extent to which they provide critical functions, and how far the damage would spread around the world if they were to fall.

Executives at the helm of Citigroup argued long and hard, over decades, for the ability to expand the scope of their business — breaking down the barriers between conventional commercial banking and all of forms of financial transactions, including the most risky. In effect, the decline of the restrictions established by the original Glass-Steagall — at first gradual but ultimately dramatic — allowed Citigroup to increase the scale and complexity of gambles that it could take backed by deposits and ultimately backed by the government.

What are the chances of this bill getting passed? Probably not all that good considering the Wall St. cronies like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who most certainly oppose it. Even if it makes it through the Senate relatively intact in intent, the wild children in the House will most certainly kill it. We need more Liz Warrens in both houses of congress.

May 24 2013

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the five Too Big Too Fail banks are 30% larger. Dodd-Frank has yet to be implemented and already banking lobbyists are working with congress to derail it. In March, Attorney General Eric Holder testified that some banks are just too large which makes them too hard to prosecute. Part of Holder’s justification that bringing criminal charges against large financial institutions would harm the economy, doesn’t quire hold water:

The U.S. Department of Justice appears to have neither conducted nor received any analyses that would show whether criminal charges against large financial institutions would harm the economy, potentially undermining a key DOJ argument for why the world’s biggest banks have escaped indictment.

Testimony by a top Justice official and fresh documents made public on Wednesday during a House financial services committee hearing revealed that financial regulators and the Treasury Department did not provide warnings to prosecutors weighing the economic consequences or fallout in the financial system of criminal indictments against large financial groups. DOJ also could find no records that would substantiate its previous claims that it weighed potentially negative economic or financial impacts when considering criminal charges, said Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general for the criminal division.

Wednesday’s revelations are likely to increase criticism of the Obama administration, which has been accused of a lackluster enforcement record against big banks in the financial crisis and other matters.

This week Treasury Secretary Jack Lew appeared at a Senate banking committee hearing where Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questioned him on whether it’s time to cap the size of the banks deemed “too big to fail”:

Can we have more Liz Warrens? Like 60 of her?

Mar 12 2013

Why Wasn’t the Death Penalty Warranted?

Once again Sen. Elizabeth Warren demonstrated why the voters of Massachusetts sent her to the Senate when in a Senate Banking Committee hearing about money laundering, she questioned why British bank HSBC is still doing business in the U.S., with no criminal charges filed against it, despite confessing to what one regulator called “egregious” money laundering violations

Her comments came just a day after the attorney general of the United States confessed that some banks are so big and important that they are essentially above the law. His Justice Department’s failure to bring any criminal charges against HSBC or its employees is Exhibit A of that problem.

(..) Warren grilled officials from the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency about why HSBC, which recently paid $1.9 billion to settle money laundering charges, wasn’t criminally prosecuted and shut down in the U.S. Nor were any individuals from HSBC charged with any crimes, despite the bank confessing to laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels and rogue regimes like Iran and Libya over several years.

Defenders of the Justice Department say that a criminal conviction could have been a death penalty for the bank, causing widespread damage to the economy. Warren wanted to know why the death penalty wasn’t warranted in this case.

“They did it over and over and over again across a period of years. And they were caught doing it, warned not to do it and kept right on doing it, and evidently making profits doing it,”

“How many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you have to violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this?”

“You sit in Treasury and you try to enforce these laws, and I’ve read all of your testimony and you tell me how vigorously you want to enforce these laws, but you have no opinion on when it is that a bank should be shut down for money laundering?”

“If you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you’re gonna go to jail. If it happens repeatedly, you may go to jail for the rest of your life,” Warren said. “But evidently if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your bed at night — every single individual associated with this. And I think that’s fundamentally wrong.”

As staunch an opponent of the death penalty as I am, I would have voted for it and watched the “execution” of HSBC with glee.

Feb 15 2013

Not Ready to Make Nice

Sen Elizabeth Warren 1st Banking Hearing photo 17519_10151432756445842_988710335_n_zps66996ea7.jpgHeads up folks, there’s a new sheriff in town and she’s not ready to make nice. Freshman Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) made her debut on the Senate Banking Committee making it very clear to the bank regulators from the alphabet soup of agencies sitting before her, that she was not pleased:

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts had a straightforward question for them: When was the last time you took a Wall Street bank to trial? It was a harder question than it seemed.

“We do not have to bring people to trial,” Thomas Curry, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, assured Warren, declaring that his agency had secured a large number of “consent orders,” or settlements.

“I appreciate that you say you don’t have to bring them to trial. My question is, when did you bring them to trial?” she responded.

“We have not had to do it as a practical matter to achieve our supervisory goals,” Curry offered. [..]

The financial regulators can blame, at least in part, Wall Street lobbyists (along with outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Senate Republicans) for their embarrassing turn at the hearing. Warren would have been on the panel herself representing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, instead of a sitting senator, if her nomination to head the agency hadn’t been thwarted in 2011.

After getting the essentially the same answer from the others at the table, Sen. Warren, who was a friend and admirer of the late Internet activist Aaron Swartz who all too briefly was her constituent, alluded to his suicide chastised the lack of any criminal prosecutions:

There are district attorneys and United States attorneys out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds and taking them to trial in order to make an example, as they put it. I’m really concerned that ‘too big to fail’ has become ‘too big for trial.

Sen. Warren is part of the “new breed” of Senate Democrats who are not going to sit quietly in the background, as digby said, “for at least four years before they were allowed to assert themselves in even the tiniest ways.” But is she rally that “awesome?”

At naked capitalism, Yves Smith is more reserved in her assessment and believes that Sen. Warren is hamstrung by the time constraints for questions and answers that “produce “sound-bites, grand-standing, and run-out-the-clock obfuscation rather than meaningful interaction:”

So while Warren fans are happy with her debut, these star turns are useful for signaling, but they are not how she will make a difference, if she can make a difference. The Senate gives her ready media access, but the convention in the Senate is for newbies keep a low profile for the first six months. Warren might be allowed some liberties on banking issues, given her expertise in this arena. Notice how she breezily overstepped her time limits in the video clip. But expect her to hew to convention elsewhere, otherwise she could undermine her ability to get things done. Remember, Hillary Clinton had to bring fellow Senators coffee as a freshman to prove she didn’t have airs.

That also means we are likely to remain in the dark about where Warren stands on other issues that affect middle class families, like social insurance programs and the progressivity of taxes, until after the deficit pact is done (Warren will be expected to fall in with the party position), unless we have another kick-the-can deal in March and real fights take place when she is in a position to operate a bit more freely.

So the early signs of how tough-minded Warren intends to be will come through the letters, speeches, and positions she takes on banking matters outside the formal Committee sessions. Her early talk is promising, but we need to see how she follows up with action.**

Meanwhile, the lack of clear, simple regulation that was the hallmark of the Glass – Steagall Act has Wall Steet manipulating Dodd – Frank to “bypass new regulations aimed at limiting reckless speculation, enhancing the prospect of another derivatives crisis, warn some market participants.”

Under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law adopted by Congress in 2010, investors are required to set aside significant sums of cash to cover losses on their derivatives trades — money they could otherwise plow into additional investments. That policy came in response to the financial crisis that began in 2007, when major financial institutions found themselves unable to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in shortfalls on derivatives trades.

But traders have recently forged a path around these so-called margin requirements in order to allow them to harvest larger profits via larger bets: They are repackaging some derivatives known as swaps into another financial product known as futures. Futures are less stringently regulated, meaning investors can stake out larger positions while reserving smaller amounts of cash.

I don’t expect that President Obama’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, will be any better the Tim Geithner since he has been a steady defender of deregulation and repeatedly said that he didn’t “believe that deregulation was the proximate cause” of the banking crisis. As President Bill Clinton’s head of OMB, Mr. Lew organized the gutting of Glass-Steagall protections against banker adventurism.

It seems that Sen. Warren has struck a nerve when she said:

At one point, Warren asked why big banks’ book value was lower, when most corporations trade above book value, saying there could be only two reasons for it.

“One would be because nobody believes that the banks’ books are honest. Second, would be that nobody believes that the banks are really manageable. That is, if they are too complex either for their own institutions to manage them or for the regulators to manage them” {..}

That set off angry responses to Politico’s Morning Money. “While Senator Warren had every right to ask pointed questions at today’s Senate Banking Committee hearing, her claim that ‘nobody believes’ that bank books are honest is just plain wrong,” emailed a “top executive” to the financial newsletter. ” Perhaps someone ought to remind the Senator that the campaign is over and she should act accordingly if she wants to be taken seriously.” [..]

In an email, a GOP bank lobbyist said, “Republicans also would like to know why the Democratic donor base has avoided trial. Maybe she should subpoena the DSCC and Obama’s super PAC to answer her question.”

Consumer Bankers Association CEO Richard Hunt was slightly more diplomatic. “We have been through more tests and thorough exams than any college student over the past four years, including many conducted by the CFPB. The results of the Hamilton Partners Financial Index and the testimony of OCC Comptroller [Thomas] Curry were very clear: the United States banking system is safe and sound, supported by historic and permanent capital ratios. We are working every day to fulfill the financial needs of the American consumer and small business and will continue to work with any and all lawmakers who seek to assist in this extremely important process.”

Awww, she hurt their feelings.

Sen. Warren has a Mt. Everest size hill to climb. We wish her luck.

Jan 27 2012

Elizabeth Warren: “Pats Gonna Spank The Giants”

Democratic challenger for the US Senate seat from Massachusetts and Harvard Law professor, Elizabeth Warren has been a popular guest this week on the cable networks. She appeared on MSNBC Thursday following the Republican debate and assessed Republicans as favoring a policy to “invest in those who already made it”. She specifically addressed wealthy businessman Mitt Romney’s income and his preferred tax rate:

“Mitt Romney pays 14 percent of his income in taxes, and people who get out there and work for a living pay 25, 28, 30, 33 percent. I get it, Mitt Romney gets a better deal than any of the rest of us because he manages to earn his income in a way that has been specially protected for rich folks,” said Ms. Warren.

Her assessment of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was equally critical on his proposed tax policy of reducing everyone’s tax rate to 15% and expressed her support of “Warren Buffett rule” that would raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

Earlier on Tuesday night with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show, she informed Jon that “The Pats are gonna spank the Giants” and addressed tax policy, lobbying, and investment, her signature issues. She opposes cuts in education research as detrimental and the need to invest in the middle class. In Part 2, she goes on to describe the role that government should play in regulating America’s private sector.  This is the unedited interview that is only available on line

There are those who are concerned that Warren, a political novice, will compromise her principles to the pressure of Wall St. hawks like Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). After watching her dress down Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner during hearings as chair of the five-member Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the implementation of TARP, I think she’ll be able to stand her ground. I’ll forgive her for her support of the Patriots. Nobody’s perfect.

Sep 22 2011

“Nobody In This Country Got Rich On His Own”

Elizabeth Warren on Debt Crisis, Fair Taxation

From Greg Sargent @ The Washington Post

   Republicans are planning to paint Warren as a liberal Harvard elitist – they’re already referring to her as “Professor Warren” – because they believe that she will have trouble winning over the kind of blue collar whites from places like South Boston that helped power Scott Brown’s upset victory.

   But as this video shows, Warren is very good at making the case for progressive economics in simple, down-to-earth terms. Despite her professorial background, she sounds like she’s telling a story. She came across as unapologetic and authorative, without a hint of the sort of defensiveness you hear so often from other Democrats when they talk about issues involving taxation and economic fairness. This is exactly what national Dems like about Warren.

Transcript via rumproast:

   I hear all this, you know, “Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.”-No!

   There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.

   You built a factory out there-good for you! But I want to be clear.

   You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.

   You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.

   You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.

   You didn’t have to worry that maurauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

   Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea-God bless. Keep a big hunk of it.

   But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

May 25 2011

This Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady

At a House sub-committee called TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs, the sub-committee chair, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) rudely berated Dr. Elizabeth Warren who was called to testify before the sub-committee on matters concerning the new Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB). Dr. Warren had previously agreed to appear for an hour. When she prepared to leave to attend another scheduled meeting, McHenry abusively berated her because she could not wait for the two Republican committee members who were absent. He called her a liar with regard to agreement about her appearance and about her involvement in setting up the structure of the CFPB. Dr. Warren looked shocked but remained firm and ever the lady. They really hate smart, powerful women

The backlash has been rapid with McHenry’s Facebook page being taken over with harsh criticism of his behavior and demands that he apologize to Dr. Warren:

“Thank You Mr McHenry!

The complexity of the problems in our economy is causing many of the disenfranchised to incorrectly assume the elite will do the right thing.

But fortunately, we have leaders like you, with your blatant disregard for the facts, that clarify for the undecided, what the right course of action is. — Confirm Elizabeth Warren!”

“What a pathetic display of pig-headed machismo. To openly call a highly respected government official such as Elizabeth Warren a liar in the hopes of fallaciously discrediting her, CLEARLY illustrates the problem with the American government at present.

The liars, such as Mr. McHenry, are called “Saints” and “Defenders of the Constitution”, and the few brave warriors who fight on behalf of the people are marginalized and sidelined.

America, for the sake of your nation and the very survival of your culture, you cannot let this kind of behavior continue”

“You are disgrace to the office you hold. Even 12 year old students found your behavior offensive. Apologize.”

“Some of McHenry’s top donors…Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Mortgage Bankers Association, Capitol One, Citigroup, & Mastercard….his ulterior motives against Elizabeth Warren and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau REEK!”

McHenry’s baseless attacks and rudeness were so bad that another committee member, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), used his time to apologize for the unprofessional, schoolyard behavior.

YARMUTH: I apologize to the witness, Dr. Warren, for the rude and disrespectful behavior of the chair. The snarky comments about a Senate race, and the questioning of your veracity when there is documented evidence that you are being totally truthful indicates to me that this hearing is all about impugning you because people are afraid of you and your ability to communicate in very clear terms the threats to our consumers and the threats to our constituents and possibly very, very effective ways to combat them. So I think, in one respect, I congratulate you for instilling such fear in the committee, on the majority side, and in some aspects, or segments, of the business community because they understand how effective you are in getting the message out to the American people.

In the meantime on the Senate side, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has said that Republicans will block ay nominee for the CFPB unless Democrats agree to change the agency’s structure and funding. More hostages, please.

Main St Insider was kind enough to post this video at Docudharma on Tuesday and provided many of the links to the up dates, also a partial transcript and the video of Rep. Yarmuth’s apology.

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