The House Financial Services Committee is expected to vote Wednesday on bills to replace the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s sole director with a bipartisan, five-member commission (H.R. 1266) and require Senate confirmation for the CFPB’s inspector general (H.R. 957).
As we discussed here, The Financial Product Safety Commission Act (H.R. 1266), introduced on March 5, 2015, by Representative Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) and including Representative Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) as an original co-sponsor, would remove the Director of the CFPB and replace him with a bipartisan commission. According to Duffy, “Protecting consumers is important to everyone. However, this is an agency that is led by one man. It’s an agency that makes rules and regulations that restrict access to credit for everyone while they [the CFPB] collect data on consumers without their permission, and Congress can do nothing about it.”
On February 12, 2015, Representative Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) reintroduced the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection-Inspector General Act of 2015 (H.R. 957), which is co-sponsored by Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), and Edward Royce (R-Ca). This bipartisan legislation would grant the Senate greater oversight over the CFPB by requiring Senate approval to confirm an independent inspector general for the CFPB. Currently, the CFPB is not subject to oversight from Congress through the annual appropriations process, as it receives funds through the Federal Reserve. The CFPB also shares an inspector general with the Fed, which is an unconfirmed position appointed by its chairman. The legislation would amend the Inspector General Act of 1978 to establish an independent inspector general for the CFPB. The position would be appointed by the President and then confirmed with the advice and consent of the Senate. According to Stivers, “This legislation will allow for increased oversight of an agency that has been given broad authority. It is important that we take the necessary steps to ensure the CFPB is accountable to the American people.”