Elizabeth Warren, President Obama’s controversial pick to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, today appeared as a witness at a congressional hearing to testify on the oversight of the bureau. But things got a little testy when Warren wanted to leave before two members had a chance to question her.
In a heated back-and-forth with Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Warren insisted that she had been promised by his staff that in exchange for moving the hearing time up by 45 minutes, she would get to leave after one hour of questioning. "Congressman, you are causing problems,” Warren said. “We had an agreement for a later hearing. Your staff asked us to move around so that we had to change everything on my schedule.”
McHenry said they had not made such an agreement:
Warren: Congressman we had an agreement
McHenry: You had no agreement
Warren: We had an agreement for the time this hearing would occur
McHenry: You're making this up Ms. Warren...This is not the case.
Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) then jumped to her defense, "Mr. Chairman, you just did something that I'm trying to be cordial here, but you just accused the lady of lying."
Near the end of the exchange, Warren offered to answer any remaining questions in writing: "I would be glad to answer questions for the record. We can do that... If you'll just send us questions for the record, we're glad to answer them, and they'll be a matter of the public record."
McHenry tried to repeat to Warren that he believed there was no agreement on departure time. "I understand your frustration. I just ask you to see my side of this thing as well." At that Cummings tried to break in.
McHenry: If the gentleman will simmer. You know
Cummings: No. I'm cool. I just want to make sure she's treated fairly.
McHenry: I understand.
The exchange lasted about seven or eight minutes, and at 2:26 pm ET, McHenry recessed the hearing. Later this afternoon, McHenry released a statement about the hearing and Warren’s departure:
“Committee staff worked diligently to accommodate Ms. Warren’s schedule. The hearing was scheduled on a day of her choosing, incorporating the likelihood of votes to ensure she would not be interrupted during questions, and allowing for all participating members to speak.
"I was shocked by Ms. Warren’s blatant sense of entitlement. She was apparently under the assumption that she could dictate a one hour time limit for her testimony to Congress and that we were there at her behest instead of the other way around. This is just further example of her disregard for congressional oversight.”