House Financial Services Committee Passes CFPB-Related Legislation

Committee votes 34-26 to advance legislation, sponsored by Chairwoman Maxine Waters, after lengthy markup.

4/1/2019 1:00 PM

CFPBNewsAdvocacy
House Financial Services Committee Passes CFPB-Related Legislation

In a 34-26 vote, the House Financial Services Committee passed the Consumers First Act (H.R. 1500), legislation designed to “reverse harmful structural changes at the CFPB," according to Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who reintroduced the bill. It was cosponsored by 28 members of the committee in conjunction with its semiannual review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s report to Congress and testimony from Director Kathy Kraninger in early March.

The legislation addresses concerns that the consumer bureau recently has not “fulfilled both the spirit and the plain letter of the law,” according to a Democrat memorandum for the semiannual review hearing.

Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., challenged the legislation noting that several of its components—especially with respect to organizational issues—could be accomplished by the bureau without legislation.

“If you really want to make the agency accountable to the American people, let’s start with the fundamentals [and] change the CFPB’s organizational structure [and] its fundamental mechanisms,” McHenry said during the markup of the bill last week. “There are fundamental reforms we can have for this agency so that it can endure and last, all of which would bring greater accountability and transparency.”

U.S. Rep. Michael San Nicolas, D-Guam, one of the sponsors of the Consumers First Act, said it is designed to bring the bureau back on issues where it has “tipped too far,” ACA International previously reported.

While U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., initially proposed an amendment that would establish a commission to lead the bureau, he ultimately withdrew the proposal during the markup.

Taking up another issue that is a concern for ACA International, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., proposed an amendment to bring the CFPB’s funding under congressional appropriations. Even though the amendment failed, Barr is not ending his pursuit to change CFPB’s funding as he introduced the Taking Account of Bureaucrats’ Spending (TABS) Act of 2019, H.R. 969 in February.

In support of Barr’s legislation, ACA CEO Mark Neeb submitted the following statement in a letter to Barr:  “Changing the source of funding for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (“Bureau” or “CFPB”) from the Federal Reserve System transfers to annual appropriations is appropriate because it adds checks and balances to an agency with little accountability as a result of its single director structure. The appropriations process also allows consumers through their elected officials to have a voice in the direction of the Bureau. This is particularly important to add transparency and accountability to CFPB actions.”

ACA International will continue to follow progress of the Consumers First Act.

If you are interested in meeting with policymakers, join ACA International May 14-16 in Washington, D.C., for the annual Washington Insights Fly-In at the Phoenix Park Hotel. Registration is now open!

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