House Committee Passes Bills to Shake-Up CFPB

Several bipartisan bills that would increase federal oversight and change the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) passed through the House Financial Services Committee this week.

Included within the legislation was H.R. 1266, a bill introduced by Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) in March that wants to create a bipartisan five-person committee to serve as the ruling body of the CFPB.

The legislation aims to remove the CFPB from within the Federal Reserve System and re-establish it as a stand-alone agency that is governed by the aforementioned five-person commission. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 35-24.

“To better serve the American people, the Bureau must adopt a more balanced and consultative process to its rulemaking,” said Neugebauer, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, when the legislation was first introduced. 

Also approved by the House Financial Services Committee was H.R. 957, known as the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection-Inspector General Reform Act of 2015. 

This legislation, introduced by Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), would require an independent Senate-confirmed Inspector General for the CFPB whose function would be to conduct audits, investigations, review programs and operations at the agency. 

As a bureau that handles a large portfolio of financial industry and consumer issues, the CFPB should welcome an independent review of its operations, says the American Bankers Association (ABA), which supports both H.R. 957 and H.R. 1266.

“The legislative proposals before the committee seek to provide the proper balance of protections to help the financial industry serve our customers,” said ABA Executive Vice President of Congressional Relations and Political Affairs James Ballentine in a memo to the committee on Tuesday. 

H.R. 957 passed the House Financial Services Committee 56-3. The bill was one of five other pieces of legislation—including H.R. 1266—passed by the Committee this week. 

“Consumers are understandably concerned about our economy,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) in a written statement. “We remain stuck in the worst recovery of the last 70 years. At the same time, they’re concerned that Washington is taking away their choices and raising many of their costs.”

“Our committee has already guided 41 bills through the House this year, but we still have a lot more work to do,” Hensarling added.

Written by Jason Oliva

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