Spending deal forces consumer bureau to open its books

The audits would allow examiners to pore over the operations, financial statements and budget of the new agency, which has come under criticism from Republicans since its creation as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

The office of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) touted the provision Tuesday.

"The agreement subjects the so-called Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) created by the job-destroying Dodd-Frank law to yearly audits by both the private sector and the Government Accountability Office," his office said in a statement.

However, the White House claimed Saturday that Democrats were able to fight off GOP efforts to limit the CFPB's funding.

GOP lawmakers contend that the bureau, set to begin work in July, has been handed significant powers that it could use to stifle innovation in the financial sector. House Republicans have proposed a handful of bills that would alter the bureau, including replacing a single director with a bipartisan commission and bringing the bureau's budget under the purview of congressional appropriators.

CFPB backers, including the presidential assistant in charge of setting up the agency, Elizabeth Warren, contend these bills are an attempt to limit the effectiveness of the agency before it gets up and running.

The spending package, which will be voted on later this week, also includes a provision mandating the Comptroller General of the United States to begin conducting annual studies of all the government's regulations on the financial services industry. 

Specifically, the bill requires an examination into what impact government rules are having on financial markets, how much it costs companies to comply with those rules and whether regulators are conducting cost-benefit analyses when writing rules. All those issues had been identified as areas of concern by Republican lawmakers since the Dodd-Frank financial reform law was enacted.

This post updated at 11:38 am.