Mick Mulvaney's first day of work at the CFPB. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / AP

On the first day of work at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after former director Richard Cordray stepped down, two people showed up to lead the agency: White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, President Trump's appointee for acting director, and the CFPB's deputy director Leandra English, Cordray's pick.

The big picture: The CFPB's General Counsel has said she acknowledges Mulvaney's authority, but it is still unclear who will ultimately lead the agency. Neither Mulvaney nor English have backed down, and both sent introductory emails to staff Monday morning.

Where things stand

On his first day...

  • Mulvaney showed up to the CFPB with donuts, and then he sent a memo to staffers telling them to "disregard any instructions" from English "in her presumed capacity as acting director."
  • John Czwartacki, Mulvaney's top communications aide, told Axios that the budget directors transition at the CFPB "could not have been smoother."

On her first day...

  • English also sent an email to staff, introducing herself and signing off as "Acting Director."
  • But Czwartacki told Axios he has not seen English, or anyone acting as her proxy, at the agency's office.
  • English has sued the Trump administration for its appointment of Mulvaney to the post, citing the Dodd-Frank Act.
  • Monday afternoon, she is scheduled to meet with Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Capitol Hill.
What's next

Per the Dodd-Frank Act of 2008...

  • The deputy director "shall serve as acting Director in the absence or unavailability of the Director."
  • Deepak Gupta, English's lawyer, has said she is to serve as acting director until the Senate confirms a new director, per the law.
  • Sen. Dick Durbin said on CNN's State of the Union that Dodd-Frank "says that when the director steps aside, the deputy director shall be in charge of the agency ... Not may — shall — be in charge."

Per the Vacancies Reform Act of 1998...

  • If the head of an executive agency resigns, "the first assistant to the office of such officer shall perform the functions and duties of the office temporarily in an acting capacity," but the President "may direct a person who serves in an office for which appointment is required to be made by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to perform the functions and duties of the vacant office temporarily in an acting capacity..."
  • Between the lines: The Vacancies Reform Act echoes Dodd-Frank that the deputy director will take charge when the director resigns, but includes a provision that the President may appoint an acting head instead.
  • The White House has defended its appointment of Mulvaney with this act.
  • "The vacancies act allows the President to name a successor. Furthermore, the President has the authority to simply fire the existing deputy director," Former House Financial Services Committee Senior Counsel J.W. Verret said.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham countered Durbin on CNN's State of the Union and cited the Vacancies Reform Act. "I hope it's Mick Mulvaney," he said.

Go deeper

Supreme Court rejects GOP push to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by conservatives to shorten North Carolina's deadline for mail-in ballots from nine to three days.

The big picture: This is the latest of a series of decisions over mail-in ballot deadlines in various states.

Hurricane Zeta makes landfall on Louisiana coast as Category 2 storm

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 2 storm on Wednesday, bringing with it "life-threatening storm surge and strong winds," per the National Hurricane Center.

What's happening: The hurricane was producing maximum sustained winds of nearly 110 mph and stronger gusts.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control rise in hospitalizations Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed as COVID-19 surges MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.