Press Releases

Waters Statement on Supreme Court Decision to Curb Consumer Bureau’s Independence

Washington, DC, July 1, 2020
Tags: CFPB

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, made the following statement regarding the Supreme Court decision in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“This decision from the Supreme Court diminishes the independence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Consumer Bureau) by allowing the President to fire its director without cause.

“When Congress drafted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, we took pains to craft a Consumer Bureau that would be free from political interference, as this type of interference—which is precisely the type of interference that Trump appointees have engaged in at the Bureau since 2017—is detrimental to America’s consumers. The purpose of the for cause removal provision was to prevent an anti-consumer president, like the one currently in the White House, from firing a pro-consumer director, such as former CFPB Director Richard Cordray. Unfortunately, with this ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that consumer protections are subject to political directives of the President. Therefore, it is critical that not only should the nation have a chief executive who looks out for America’s consumers but also that his or her chosen director do so as well. If we have a new president in 2021, Kathy Kraninger’s tenure at the Consumer Bureau, which has been defined by hostility to consumers and the agency’s mission, will thankfully be over in short order.”

Chairwoman Waters has led the fight against the Trump Administration’s actions to weaken the Consumer Bureau and harm consumers.

After Director Kraninger sided with the Trump Administration and determined that the Consumer Bureau would no longer defend the constitutionality of its for-cause Director removal provision, Chairwoman Waters and Speaker Pelosi announced in October 2019 and January 2020 that the House would file briefs in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau supporting the Consumer Bureau’s structure.

In December 2019, Chairwoman Waters wrote a letter to Kathy Kraninger, expressing concerns regarding reports that a Trump Administration political appointee, Thomas G. Ward, was the lead candidate for the enforcement director position at the Consumer Bureau.

In October 2019, Chairwoman Waters released a Majority staff report entitled, “Settling for Nothing: How Kraninger’s CFPB Leaves Consumers High and Dry.” The report presented evidence that the Trump Administration’s politicization of the Consumer Bureau contributed to a decline in the Consumer Bureau’s obtaining redress for harmed consumers.

In August 2019, Chairwoman Waters led a letter with more than 100 Members of Congress pushing back against CFPB Director Kraninger’s efforts to undermine a payday rule by her predecessor that would have helped to better protect vulnerable small-dollar loan borrowers, who are frequent targets of predatory payday lenders..

In May 2019, the House passed the Consumers First Act (H.R. 1500), legislation introduced by Chairwoman Waters to block the Trump Administration’s anti-consumer agenda and reverse their past efforts to undermine the mission of the Consumer Bureau.

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