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House to Consider CFPB Accountability Reforms This Week


Washington, Feb 24 -

On Thursday, February 27 the House will consider H.R. 3193, the Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act, sponsored by Financial Services Committee member Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI).

H.R. 3193 is a package of bills to bring greater accountability and transparency to the powerful CFPB. These bills passed the Financial Services Committee on November 21, 2013. H.R. 3193 does the following:

- Replaces the single, unaccountable CFPB Director with an accountable, five-member Commission appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate to ensure that a diversity of viewpoints inform the CFPB’s regulatory and enforcement agenda, and to conform the CFPB’s governance to that of other federal agencies charged with consumer or investor protection.

- Subjects the CFPB to the regular appropriations process and makes the CFPB a stand-alone independent agency rather than a bureau within the Federal Reserve System.

- Prohibits the CFPB from using a consumer’s private, personal financial information without the consumer’s knowledge and consent. The CFPB is currently engaged in a massive, multi-million dollar data collection effort of consumers’ financial information.

- Prevents the CFPB from undermining the safety and soundness of U.S. financial institutions through regulatory overreach.

- Sets the basic rates of pay for CFPB employees in accordance with the General Services (GS) scale.

“These are modest, common-sense reforms 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 and thus demands rigorous oversight. The American people deserve better. They now have witnessed a failed stimulus plan, trillions of dollars of unsustainable debt… revelations of NSA domestic data collection and a broken promise of ‘if you like your health insurance, you can keep it.’ The American people rightfully demand accountability from this administration, and H.R. 3193 is a step in the right direction,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).

The CFPB has also come under recent scrutiny for its plans to spend $145 million on office renovations for a building it does not even own. Chairman Hensarling brought these planned renovations to light last month during a hearing with CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

Since that hearing, the Federal Reserve Inspector General announced earlier this month that it has launched an investigation into why renovation costs for the CFPB’s headquarters “have soared to more than three times the original estimate,” the Washington Examiner reports.