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FSC Majority | Week in Review

Washington, March 6, 2015 - Committee Pushes for Accountability and Transparency at the CFPB

Tuesday’s hearing with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray was another opportunity for Republicans to promote reforms to make the Bureau accountable and transparent to hardworking taxpayers.

Republicans on the Committee are pushing for reforms to make the CFPB accountable and transparent because the Bureau is, by design, not accountable or transparent to Congress or taxpayers. Republican Members understand that real consumer protection puts power where it belongs: in the hands of consumers, not Washington bureaucrats.

“The CFPB undoubtedly remains the single most powerful and least accountable Federal agency in all of Washington,” said Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) in his opening remarks. “When it comes to the credit cards, auto loans and mortgages of hardworking taxpayers the CFPB has unbridled, discretionary power not only to make those less available and more expensive, but to absolutely take them away."

With its authority unchecked, the Bureau restricts, limits and infringes on the economic freedoms of the very consumers it is supposed to protect.

Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), said, “I remain concerned that many Bureau actions demonstrate a regulatory paternalism that assumes the American consumer doesn’t know how to make choices for themselves. It is a dangerous scenario when government bureaucrats start making financial choices for people. 

“In my district there is a single mother with three kids who use prepaid cards to budget finances and overdraft protection for the occasional cash shortage scenario. This single mother is barely in the financial mainstream,” continued Chairman Neugebauer.  “As the Bureau moves forward with rulemaking in these areas, it must truly understand the qualitative and quantitative costs and benefits of each rule.”

Committee Republicans also continued to seek answers about why the Bureau is spending more than $215 million in renovation costs for a building it rents.

When Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) asked CFPB Director Richard Cordray who authorized the renovations, he outrageously replied: “Why does that matter to you?”

"Because it's $215 million of taxpayers' money!" declared Rep. Wagner.

Watch this exchange between Rep. Wagner and Director Cordray here.


Rep. Robert Hurt | Robert Hurt: The Federal Reserve must be transparent and accountable

Until we can institute more transparent policies for the Federal Reserve, we must continue to provide rigorous congressional oversight. Last Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testified before the House Financial Services Committee hearing entitled, “Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy.” I appreciate Chair Yellen’s testimony, particularly because I have serious concerns about Federal Reserve policies that make life more difficult for hardworking Americans and disproportionately diminish the ability of Main Street banks to provide vital capital in our rural communities.

Rep. Robert Pittenger | Pittenger renews push on advisory board for small businesses

In a statement Thursday, Pittenger said the board would “give small business owners, credit unions and community banks a seat at the table.” “Small businesses create jobs. Community banks and credit unions support small businesses. Too often, Washington regulators don’t pay attention to how their rules create unnecessary burdens for small business owners, killing job growth,” he said.

Weekend Must Reads

New York Post | White House looking to creep into 401(k)s

It’s all about control. It’s your money, America. The system functions quite well. Adding more pages of red tape will not improve performance, but it just may get your broker to drop your account, just as many credit lines were closed after Dodd-Frank passed.

American Action Forum | Re-inflating the Housing Bubble?

In this light, recent policy decisions are especially troubling. The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would again purchase and guarantee mortgages with as little as 3 percent down. It also decided to fund the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund. And, as discussed in recent testimony, the FHA announced a wrong-headed cut in the premiums it charges for insuring mortgages against default. These are carbon copies of the kind of pro-cyclical housing policies that prevailed prior to the crash.

Wall Street Journal | A Recovery Waiting to Be Liberated

Hope flickered last year when the economy grew at more than a 4% clip in the second and third quarters. But then came last week’s news that fourth-quarter growth slowed to 2.2%, a gloomy revelation that the rebound was temporary. Economic growth for 2014 clocked in at about 2.3%—the same disappointing pace since the recession officially ended in 2009. What is the problem?

    In the News

Holland Sentinel | Huizenga talks about Federal Reserve in weekly Republican address

Wall Street Journal | Hensarling Wants Quicker Responses From ‘Stonewalling’ Agencies

The Hill | Hensarling rips Obama for ‘unprecedented secrecy’

Bloomberg | House Republicans Seek Changes to CFPB; Call for Restructuring Regulatory Agency

Credit Union Times | Cordray Defends CFPB Payday Lending Action

Housing Wire | House Committee grills Cordray on QM, mortgage regulations

The Hill | GOP bill would overhaul consumer agency

Washington Examiner | How government debt actually affects you

The Hill | Let’s stifle Operation Choke Point

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