Committee Approves Consumer Protection Bills that Bring Accountability, Oversight and Transparency to the CFPB
November 21, 2013 -
The House Financial Services Committee today passed six bills to bring oversight, accountability and transparency to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), including bills to protect consumer privacy.
“These are modest, common-sense bills that bring a modicum of accountability and transparency to the CFPB. We know that this is an agency that was designed to be unique, if not perhaps rogue; it is an agency like no other. Arguably it is the single most powerful and least accountable Federal agency in the history of our nation,”Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said.
The following is a summary of the bills the committee passed today.
H.R. 2446, the Responsible Consumer Financial Protection Regulations Act of 2013, introduced by Chairman Emeritus Spencer Bachus (R-AL). The bill was approved by a vote of 31-21.
Unlike other federal agencies responsible for consumer or investor protection, the CFPB is currently led by a single director rather than a bipartisan commission. H.R. 2446 reforms the CFPB’s leadership structure with a bipartisan, five-member commission appointed by the president. A bipartisan commission will promote continuity and a more stable, reasoned rule-making process at the CFPB. An agency led by multiple individuals is consistent with other federal banking regulators, including the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as well as other comparable product regulatory agencies, like the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.
H.R. 3519, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Accountability and Transparency Act, introduced by Housing and Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX). The bill was approved 32-24.
H.R. 3519 promotes greater accountability and transparency at the CFPB by subjecting it to Congressional oversight through the regular appropriations process. The bill also makes the CFPB a stand-alone independent agency rather than an independent bureau within the Federal Reserve System.
H.R. 2385, the CFPB Pay Fairness Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI). The bill was approved31-23.
H.R. 2385 sets the basic rates of pay for CFPB employees on the General Services scale, achieving pay parity with comparable product regulatory agencies. Under current law, basic pay rates for CFPB employees are set and adjusted by the CFPB Director.
H.R. 3193, the Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Duffy. The bill was approved 32-25.
H.R. 3193 requires the CFPB to consider the safety and soundness of financial institutions in its rulemaking. The bill also streamlines the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s review and oversight of CFPB rules and regulations that may undermine the safety and soundness of financial institutions.
H.R. 2571, the Consumer Right to Financial Privacy Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Duffy. The bill was approved 32-26.
H.R. 2571 prohibits the CFPB from collecting personal financial information about consumers without their knowledge or consent. The CFPB is engaged in the collection of massive amounts of confidential financial information on millions of Americans. H.R. 2571 protects consumers from their government intrusion into their private financial lives.
H.R. 3183, introduced by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA).The bill was approved 32-25.
H.R. 3183 provides consumers with a free annual disclosure of information the CFPB maintains on them. This annual disclosure will be provided at no charge to consumers. H.R. 3183 was introduced in response to revelations that the CFPB is amassing tens of millions of financial records about consumers’ monthly credit card, mortgage and car payments.