The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill essentially overhauling the power structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
H.R. 3193, The Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act, sponsored by Representative Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.), passed on a bipartisan 232-182 vote.
The legislation is a package of bills seeking to bring greater accountability and transparency to the CFPB, which is currently headed by a single director, Richard Cordray. H.R. 3193 would replace what it calls the “unaccountable” CFPB director with a five-member Commission appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
This would ensure a diversity of viewpoints inform the CFPB’s regulatory and enforcement agenda and make the bureau’s governance structure more similar to that of other federal agencies charged with consumer or investor protection, the bill’s supporters say.
“This is a bill about accountability and transparency,” said Rep. Duffy in a statement. “This is the right thing to do. Let’s empower Congress and the American people. Let’s reform the CFPB and actually make it work.”
H.R. 3193 would also subject the CFPB to the regular budget appropriations process and make it a stand-alone, independent agency rather than a bureau within the Federal Reserve System.
Were the bill to pass the Senate and be signed into law, it would also prohibit the CFPB from using a consumers’ private, personal financial information without their knowledge and consent.
Former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray supports the bill’s intentions, highlighting the CFPB’s current involvement in collecting massive amounts of consumers’ financial information.
“Dodd-Frank gave the CFPB unprecedented freedom from the Constitution’s checks and balances: the CFPB is not truly accountable to Congress, to the Presidency, or to the courts,” he said in a statement. “This legislation would make the agency much more accountable to our elected officials, and to the rule of law. Furthermore, the legislation would help prevent the agency from continuing its massive, secret ‘data grab’ of Americans’ financial information, an abuse that Rep. Duffy and others have worked hard to expose.”
Find out more about H.R. 3193.
Written by Alyssa Gerace