GOP Lawmakers Scrutinize the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

GOP Eyes CFPB Issue

GOP Lawmakers are taking a closer look at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after recent initiatives, investigations, and settlements. 

With the news that the feeble CFPB would not publicly release records related to its independent investigation, Congressional Republicans have increasingly been examining how well the CFPB is functioning. The CFPB, begun in the Obama era as a consumer finance watchdog, has been plagued by accusations from employees of “a toxic workplace culture” and a “culture of managerial practices” that are lacking in proper administrative reviews, as well.

Background The CFPB: In response to the financial crisis of 2008, Congress created the CFPB to oversee the provision of financial products and services to consumers in order to prevent them from being treated unfairly. But the agency has faced withering criticism from lawmakers, especially from GOP members who say the CFPB is too powerful and unaccountable in its regulatory approach.

Key Issues:

Funding of the CFPB: The CFPB is unusual in that its funding does not come from Congress through annual appropriations as with other federal agencies. That process, derided by critics as limiting legislative oversight and responsibility, is instead covered by the Federal Reserve.

CFPB Settles Discrimination Lawsuit for $6 Million (plus $1.5 Million in attorney fees): This does not come as a shock to the critics who believe the entire settlement is just a shining example of the incompetence and hypocrisy that lies within an agency that is meant to enforce fair lending laws.

Union Wages: A battle over pay between the CFPB and the National Treasury Employees Union, whose members are represented at the CFPB, has brought the issue of chronic internal problems at the agency​.

Political: GOP lawmakers have long been clamoring for changes in how the CFPB is operated. The agency should be defunded — such calls went out even today, some denying its constitutional legitimacy, others its profligate spending.

Community & Expert Opinion: There was a significant difference of opinion as to whether the CFPB would be here in a few years. It is considered by some a vital consumer protection agency and to others a giant waste of taxpayers’ money, plus a perfect example of how inefficient and out of control the government can be.