Congress Members Turn Tables on CFPB in New Consumer Polling

Financial institutions, consumers and other groups that have been impacted by the actions of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will have a chance to tell their stories this week. 

The House Financial Services Committee is inviting individuals to visit its website and fill out a web form to let committee members know how the CFPB has impacted them as consumers, as business owners or how the agency has affected their customers. 

“Holding Washington accountable to hardworking taxpayers is a never-ending battle,” said Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) in a statement. “That’s especially true when it comes to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, the most powerful and least accountable government agency in all of Washington.”

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The House Committee’s web form offers individuals the choice of having their stories shared either publicly or kept confidential. The website also extends the opportunity for individuals to share their stories by calling the Committee directly and leaving a message.

If an individual opts for confidentiality, then it is “mum’s the word” with the Committee. 

“Since many citizens today justifiably fear reprisals when it comes to speaking their mind about Washington agencies—just witness the IRS scandal—they can tell us if they don’t want their story shared with anyone else,” Hensarling said. “We will not share any story or personal information without permission.” 

The Committee is currently hearing from individuals and organizations about how the CFPB’s Qualified Mortgage rules will impact homeownership opportunities for low and middle income Americans. 

“Thanks to Obamacare, Americans now know what happens when Washington’s central planners choose their health care for them,” Hensarling said. “With the CFPB’s Qualified Mortgage rule that just went into effect, they’re about to find out what happens when those same Washington elites are entrusted with deciding who gets a mortgage and on what terms.”  

The House Financial Services Committee has long advocated to increase accountability for the CFPB and curb its powers, while others in Congress have called for further investigation into some of the government agency’s practices, such as its “big data” collection on Americans’ spending habits.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray has been a target of opposition on Capitol Hill by some who argued that his appointment by President Obama during a congressional recess period was unconstitutional.

In April 2013, Hensarling himself even said he would refuse to allow Cordray to testify in a scheduled hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, basing his statement on the unconstitutionality of Cordray’s appointment. 

The Committee’s Ranking Member Maxine Waters, however, contested the claim against the CFPB Director’s appointment, saying she would use “the rules of the Committee to provide the Director the opportunity to give testimony before the Committee.”

Written by Jason Oliva

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