GOP senators unveil bill to give Congress control of consumer bureau budget

GOP senators unveil bill to give Congress control of consumer bureau budget

More than a dozen Republican senators are backing a bill to give Congress greater control and oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) will introduce a bill Wednesday to let Congress control the CFPB’s budget, his office told The Hill on Wednesday.

Called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Accountability Act of 2017, the bill would place the CFPB under the congressional appropriations process, letting lawmakers control its budget. That would give Congress the ability to drastically limit the scope and size of the bureau, regardless of who controls it.

The CFPB, opened in 2011 per a section of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law mandating its creation, is currently independently funded by the Federal Reserve.

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Key industry groups also back the bill, including the American Bankers Association, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance and the Credit Union National Association.

Perdue, member of the Senate Banking Committee, called the CFPB “a rogue agency more focused on expanding its power than protecting the public.”

“The CFPB should be subject to more Congressional oversight so we know what they are doing and how they are using all the personal financial information they collect on American consumers,” said Perdue.

Republicans have sought drastic changes to the CFPB since it opened. They say the bureau — controlled by an independent director with regulatory and punitive power — is unaccountable and too powerful.

Perdue’s bill is one of several Republican initiatives to reshape the bureau. Cruz introduced a bill Tuesday to eliminate the CFPB entirely, and the House Financial Services Committee is expected to release an updated version of a Dodd-Frank revamp within weeks.

The House passed a bill last year to subject the CFPB to congressional appropriations. Giving Congress control of the bureau’s budget is a high priority for Republicans and a likely starting point for Dodd-Frank reform.

Democrats have fiercely defended the CFPB and have opposed multiple Republican reform attempts. Democrats say the bureau is an essential tool for cracking down on predatory financial services and cite the $11 billion CFPB won in resolution for slighted consumers.