Republicans and Warren get set for round two

Wed Jun 1, 2011 12:16pm EDT

* Republicans request another hearing with consumer czar

* Warren says she looks forward to testifying

By Dave Clarke

WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives want another crack at Elizabeth Warren in the witness chair following a tense hearing last week, and the presidential adviser is ready to oblige.

At last week's hearing, Republicans and Warren jousted over the role of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she is setting up for the Obama administration, as well as her role in the government's negotiations with banks over their mortgage foreclosure practices. [ID:nN24288426]

On Wednesday, Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent Warren a letter asking her to testify again "in the near future."

"In light of the inability of all Members of the Subcommittee to have an opportunity to ask you questions, and your unwillingness to provide direct and responsive answers to a number of important questions, the Committee would like to further discuss your plans for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the design and funding of the agency, and the limited checks and balances that apply to it," he wrote.

Warren looks forward to appearing before the committee, said her spokeswoman, Jen Howard.

"As the former chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, Professor Warren appreciates the importance of and value in checks and balances," Howard said in a statement. "She has had nearly 100 one-on-one conversations with Members of Congress and submitted detailed written testimony about the CFPB each time she has testified."

The May 24 hearing ended on a heated note when Warren said she could not stay for more than an hour, a time frame she said had been approved by the leaders of the Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee holding the hearing.

"You had no agreement, you are making this up, Ms. Warren," responded Patrick McHenry, the subcommittee chairman.

What followed was days of back and forth over who was being truthful and whether the committee or Warren should have been more accommodating to the other.

Republicans and many in the banking industry argue that the CFPB, which will regulate products like credit cards and mortgages, was given too much power by the 2010 financial oversight law and could restrict credit.

Democrats and consumer advocates have dismissed these claims, arguing that borrowers need better protections. (Reporting by Dave Clarke, Editing by John Wallace)

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