Seeking to spur efforts designed to restructure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 44 Republican Senators have sent a letter to President Obama stating that they will not vote to confirm anyone for the director's post until the agency is restructured.
"This about accountability," Senator Richard Shelby, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee said. "The bureau, as currently structured, lacks any semblance of the checks and balances inherent in the Constitution."
In the letter, the lawmakers calls for changes that mirror bills currently under consideration in Congress. It calls for a change in the leadership in the agency from a single directorship to a 5-person commission, increase oversight and accountability of the agency by bringing the budget under the jurisdiction of Congressional appropriations, and to provide for other regulators to be able to override CFPB regulations if they determine that it would too severely impact the safety and soundess of banks.
Responding to the letter, White House Spokesperson Amy Brundage said, "The consumer agency’s sole mission is to protect American families and provide the tools they need to make smart financial decisions. For far too long, American consumers have fallen victim to fraud, misleading claims, and powerful special interests and the President believes that American families who were the hardest hit by this financial crisis deserve an independent watchdog to protect consumers and prevent predatory lending and other abuses in the future."
To ensure that a director is in place by the July 21 official launch date, the President could side-step this effort to restructure the agency by making a recess appointment that would establish a director without confirmation through 2012. The bills to restructure the agency, currently in the House are expected to pass there, but are expected to fail in the Senage.