Office of Management and Budget director-turned acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Mick Mulvaney detailed the plans he has for the agency Monday, in the midst of an ongoing battle over whether President Donald Trump had the right to make his appointment.
“I’m not here to shut it down,” Mulvaney said at a hastily called press conference following his first day on the job and a tumultuous 24 hours that left the agency’s leadership in flux. “The way we go about it, the way we interpret it, the way we enforce it will be dramatically different under the current administration than it was under the last.”
A federal judge is set to consider a request for a temporary restraining order against him filed by Leandra English, the CFPB’s deputy director who claims she is the rightful replacement for former director Richard Cordray. Cordray elevated English to deputy director to allow for the succession prior his departure. The judge said today he would wait until the government filed its briefing and “go from there.” The Department of Justice said it expects to file its opposition to the temporary restraining order motion by this evening.
Mulvaney was defiant about carrying out Trump’s charge to overhaul the way the CFPB is run. He says he plans to spend three days a week there.
“The president wants me to be here, and honestly, since my name’s on the door now, I want to be here,” he said. “The rumors that I’m going to set the place on fire or blow it up or lock the doors are completely false” but “elections have consequences at every agency,” he added.
Effective Monday, Mulvaney said he is imposing a 30-day hiring freeze, a 30-day freeze on new regulations and said that no payments out of civil relief fund.
“Anybody who thinks that a Trump administration CFPB would be the same as an Obama administration is simply being naïve,” Mulvaney said, though he did add that if the court imposes a restraining order, he would abide by it.
Republicans have long been critical of the CFPB and what they perceive as a lack of oversight by Congress. Mulvaney has himself called the department a “joke” in a “sick, sad kind of way.”
Said Mulvaney of his powers as director Monday: They would “frighten you.”
As for English, Mulvaney claimed that she did not show up to work Monday and that the absence could be grounds for terminating her. An attorney for English said however that she went into the office and performed her duties in the acting capacity.
“I don’t know if a no call, no show for one day justifies termination, so we have to find out. Look, we do expect people to work,” Mulvaney said. “A buddy of mine actually wrote me this morning and said that only in Washington, D.C., do you get sued for showing up for work, which is what I got sued for, apparently,” he added of himself.
ABC News’ Alisa Wiersema and Geneva Sands contributed to this report.