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Financial Services Committee can't get past CFPB debate

Waters: "We should not cut off the ability of the CFPB..."

June 10, 2014

The Financial Services Committee met Tuesday to discuss the mark up of a handful of key bills, several of which regarded the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, opened the markup saying, “Again, it will be a long markup, but I assume a productive markup and I can assure you the voices of David from Mesquite and Bobby from Mineola will be heavy on my mind as we enter this markup. I hope that each member thinks about the voices of those who are underemployed and unemployed in their districts”.

But despite a lot of discussion and hope from Hensarling, little was decided.

Here we go again.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member on the Financial Services Committee, argued, “While I have concerns with the majority of these bills, I am particularly concerned to see such an egregious amount of time being spent on measures weakening the CFPB.”

“This misuse of this Committee’s time and resources is even more disheartening as the renewal of two major initiatives critical to helping small businesses, creating jobs and spurring economic growth continue to go unaddressed,” Waters said.

One of the main topics, financial literacy, was discussed awhile as members of the committee bashed on how the CFPB was providing it.

Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., noted that approximately $40 million is spent by the CFPB for financial literacy, but they have no clue how.

The CFPB has no accountability, but the committee should have control, Congressman Bill Posey, R-Fla., said.

But Waters argued that they should stop jumping to conclusions, and instead bring the Director of the CFPB in and ask him.

“If we truly want to help all of our constituencies, we should not cut off the ability of the CFPB to help people with financial literacy.”

Meanwhile, where was Cordray for this entire discussion?   

Cordray was across the way reporting to Congress at the same time for his fifth Semi-Annual Report to Congress and the President, speaking on many similar issues.

Members raised repeated questions and made statements of concern about CFPB practices in collecting private personal data on U.S. citizens, on transparency and discrimination in the bureau, on CFPB overreach, and other controversies, even as some members also lauded the accomplishments that Cordray reported.

But as Waters noted, talk is cheap and, right now, the price of debate doesn't cost anybody anything.

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