Tester Takes Mulvaney to Task Over Wasteful Spending

Senator to CFPB Director: You Can’t Be Conservative When It’s Convenient

(U.S. Senate) – As part of his ongoing effort to hold federal agencies accountable and reduce government waste, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today grilled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Mick Mulvaney about the sky-high salaries of his political appointees.

“You come to this position with a record of being a deficit hawk,” Tester said. “But I will tell you that it is somewhat troubling that your Chief of Staff is getting paid $47,000 more per year than her predecessor, more than members of Congress, most federal judges, the Vice President, and Cabinet Secretaries-more than you. You’ve got political designees that are making right at or right next to $240,000. That doesn’t jive with being a fiscal conservative.”

Mulvaney, who had been a vocal opponent of the CFPB before his appointment as Director, has cut funding, halted investigations, and implemented a hiring freeze at the agency in the name of fiscal restraint. In light of these cost-cutting measures, Tester pushed Mulvaney on why his Chief of Staff and other political appointees are making more than ever before.

“I think it’s good to be conservative, but you need to be consistent, you can’t be conservative when it’s convenient,” Tester told Mulvaney.

Tester then pivoted to the White House’s proposed cuts to crop insurance, a topic he brought up with Secretary Perdue at a similar oversight hearing yesterday. In addition to being Director of the CFPB, Mulvaney is also Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which crafts the President’s budget proposals to Congress.

“I think Perdue gets it, I think the problem may be at OMB,”
Tester said. “And I’m going to tell you, as a farmer, you reduce those safety net programs and then food security becomes a problem because farmers won’t buy that insurance, they will go broke, and I guarantee you, unequivocally, if we’re dependent on multi-national corporations to feed this country we’ve got a national security issue.”

The White House proposed significant cuts to crop insurance programs in its FY19 Budget Proposal. Tester successfully defended against similar cuts in last year’s budget.

Tester has been a champion of consumer protection in Congress, grilling the high-powered CEOs of Wells Fargo, Equifax, and most recently Facebook about their companies’ abuse or misuse of consumer information. He introduced a bill that would help the CFPB hold Wells Fargo accountable and he recently demanded answers from Mulvaney after the CFPB halted its investigation into the Equifax data breach.