WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last week, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R.-Neb) introduced two bills aimed at restructuring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The Consumer Financial Protection Commission Act of 2014 (SB 2213) would replace the agency’s single director position with a five-member, bipartisan commission. Fischer’s second bill, the CFPB Improvement Act of 2014 (SB 2212), would change the requirement for the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to overturn CFPB regulations.
“The CFPB has an enormous amount of influence impacting all sectors of our economy and every consumer nationwide,” Fischer said. “Decisions governing such a powerful agency should reflect input from all sides, rather than placing broad regulatory authority in the hands of a single unelected official with little oversight from Congress.
“Similarly, the approval process for regulations issued by the CFPB requires changes to strengthen oversight. These two bills reform the CFPB’s and FSOC’s structure to ensure greater accountability and enable the agency to more effectively carry out its mission of consumer protection.”
Under the Consumer Financial Protection Commission Act of 2014, each member of the commission would be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Commissioners would each serve staggered five-year terms, and no more than three commissioners could be from the same political party. If approved, the legislation would not take effect until the end of current CFPB Director Richard Cordray’s term.
Currently, two-thirds of the FSOC’s 10 voting members are required to overturn CFPB regulations. The proposed CFPB Improvement Act of 2014 would change the two-thirds requirement to a simple majority. It would also exclude the director of the CFPB from such a vote, removing any individual bias.
The reforms included in Senator Fischer’s bills were recently passed by the House of Representatives as part of H.R. 3193, legislation sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.).
"I commend Senator Fischer for her efforts in the Senate to hold the CFPB accountable to the standards of transparency that they promised the American people but have yet to deliver,” Duffy said. “This is a dangerously powerful and unaccountable agency that must be reined in. I will continue my efforts in the House and am glad to have a strong ally in the Senate."