The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, is set to start more of its official operations this week -- if, that is, a number of bills pending in Congress don't weaken its authority to do so.
The bills include the following.
- H.R. 1121. This would replace the CFPB's single director with a five-member board of commissioners, one of whom would be the Federal Reserve vice chairman for supervision.
- H.R. 1667. This would postpone this week's transfer of certain authorities and responsibilities from seven other federal agencies to the CFPB if it doesn't yet have a director.
- H.R. 1315. This would permit the Financial Services Oversight Council, or FSOC, to overrule new CFPB regulations with a majority, rather than two-thirds vote.
That information is according to the American Bankers Association, a trade group in Washington, D.C., that represents the nation's bank and supports all three of the bills.
The Obama Administration Executive Office of the President issued a policy statement in opposition, saying these bills would continue to foster a fragmented approach to consumer financial protection, weaken the CFPB's decision-making power and compromise its independence by making it easier for the FSOC to set aside CFPB rules and regulations.
"The Administration strongly opposes House passage of the Rules Committee Print of H.R. 1315 because it would amend the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in a manner that would expose American consumers and the nation’s economy to the same risks that led to the 2008 financial crisis," the statement said.
Earlier, President Barack Obama nominated the CFPB's first director, Richard Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, who is currently chief of enforcement at the CFPB.
Forty-four U.S. senators have said they won't confirm any nominee to the post unless the bureau's authority is weakened in these various ways.
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