House passes CFPB reform bill

Julie C. Nichols General

HousingWire – Trey Garrison

The Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act, sponsored by House Financial Services Committee member Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisc., passed the House on a largely party line vote Thursday evening, with 10 Democrats joining 222 Republicans in the majority vote. No Republicans joined the 182 Democrats opposing the reform bill The CFPB reform bill would replace the single Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director with a five-member commission appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, bring its budget under Congressional control, and provide more oversight for the bureau, currently under the aegis of the Federal Reserve.

The measure now goes to the Democrat-controlled Senate where it faces an uphill battle. Supporters of the reform bill say it would ensure that a diversity of viewpoints inform the CFPB’s regulatory and enforcement agenda. It would also conform the bureau’s governance to that of other federal agencies charged with consumer or investor protection. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, took the field first in the debate before the vote, accusing the CFPB of being unaccountable and out of control. Hensarling talked at length about the expenses the CFPB has been racking up. “The CFPB has unbridled power to impose rules like the QM rule. According to Federal Reserve reports, one-third of blacks and Hispanics would not be able to get a mortgage,” Hensarling said. “This is designed to make the Bureau more accountable and transparent… 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.”

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