WASHINGTON Feb 27 The Republican-led U.S. House
of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to overhaul the
U.S. consumer financial watchdog, although the politically
charged legislation stands little chance of becoming law.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, was
created as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law to help protect
Americans from financial scams.
Republicans say the agency is unaccountable to lawmakers
because its funding comes from the U.S. Federal Reserve, not
congressional appropriations. Democrats, on the other hand,
staunchly support the agency's independence.
"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is not responsive
to Congress because it doesn't get its funding from Congress,"
said Wisconsin Republican Sean Duffy, who sponsored the bill.
"We think it is appropriate when you have an agency that is
so powerful and so unaccountable that we give the elected
members of the American people the power to say how much money
they should have."
House members voted 232-182 for a bill that would replace
the bureau's director with a commission and subject it to the
The vote was split largely along party lines, with most
"Today's vote is just the latest chapter in a relentless
Republican attack on consumer protection," said California
Democrat Maxine Waters.
There is little chance the bill will pass the
Democratic-controlled Senate, which overcame Republican
opposition and confirmed Richard Cordray last July as the
bureau's first director.
The White House has said President Barack Obama's advisers
would recommend he veto the bill if it did pass, saying it would
"undermine critical Wall Street reforms and weaken important
But its passage in the House shows that Republicans, after
blocking Cordray's confirmation for two years, have not given up
their attempts to revamp the bureau.
They want the consumer bureau to function more like the
Securities and Exchange Commission or Commodity Futures Trading
Commission, both of which have bipartisan representation and are
funded by Congress.
The bureau's supporters say those agencies are paralyzed by
politics and move more slowly than bank regulators such as the
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which has external
sources of funding and a single leader.
The bill, which would rename the bureau as the Financial
Product Safety Commission, also would force the agency to get
permission from consumers before collecting non-public data.
Republican lawmakers say the CFPB's efforts to get more
insight into financial markets invades consumers' privacy. The
bureau says it needs better data to track financial products and
spot problem areas in the markets.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Additional reporting by Sarah
N. Lynch; Editing by Peter Cooney)