House Committee Approves Legislation To Weaken Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Because it would apparently really suck to have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that could actually do anything to protect consumers, the House Financial Services Committee has given the thumbs-up to three pieces of legislation that would weaken the agency before its even born.

One bill would restructure how the CFPB is run, eschewing its intended sole directorship position in favor of a bipartisan committee of five.

Because we all know how unbiased and not-in-anyone’s-pockets the people on such federal commissions are.

The second bill changes the amount of control the Financial Stability Oversight Council (made up of representatives of other banking agencies) has over the CFPB’s rule-making power. As things stand, the FSOC requires a 2/3 majority vote to override any of the CFPB’s new rules; the proposed legislation would change that to a simple majority.

And then there is the third bill, which prevents the CFPB from gaining any of its most important regulatory authority until after a Bureau head is named.

Muddying the waters even more, Senate Republicans have already vowed to block any CFPB chief’s appointment unless the agency is restructured more to their liking.

“These bills put the CFPB on a short leash and will make it harder for this watchdog to protect consumers from hidden bank fees, shady loans, and other financial rip-offs,” said Pamela Banks, Senior Policy Counsel for Consumers Union. “Congress should be standing with consumers not the big banks and Wall Street firms that caused our financial crisis. Americans deserve a real watchdog in Washington to look out for middle class families and rein in abusive financial practices.”

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