The House Appropriations Committee last week approved a bill aimed at financial services, which, among other things, would bring the budget of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection under the Congressional appropriations process starting in 2020.
Republicans in Congress have longed for the day when they could have some control over the budget for the BCFP. When the agency was established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act, the agency’s budget was to be approved and handed out by the Federal Reserve Board, meaning that Congress had no say in how much money the then-CFPB asked for or received to operate itself. The director of the agency sends a request to the Federal Reserve Board asking for a certain amount of money and the Federal Reserve Board gives the BCFP a check to cover what it says it needs to operate.
Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the BCFP, has recommended that the agency’s budget be placed under the Congressional appropriations process as one of four steps to improve transparency and accountability while also reducing the power held by the agency. The White House, when it released its proposed budget earlier this year, also requested that the agency’s budget be placed under Congressional review, while also announcing it would like to see the BCFP receive $6.4 billion less during the next 10 years.
The bill that was approved by the Appropriations Committee would limit the agency’s budget for the 2019 fiscal year to $485 million, and then place the agency under the jurisdiction of the Committees on Appropriations of the House and the Senate, according to a summary of the bill. Republicans are excited at the prospect of further reining the BCFP.
When it was submitted to the Financial Services and General Government subcommittee for approval, Rep. Tom Graves [R-Ga.], the chairman of the subcommittee, said:
“The bill brings the rogue, unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the appropriations process, which will finally subject it to congressional oversight and accountability.”