Rep. Maxine Waters [D-Calif.], the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, yesterday introduced a bill that seeks to officially rename the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, limit the number of political appointees at the agency, makes sure the bureau’s complaint database remains available to the public, and undo many of the other changes that have occurred at the agency under acting director Mick Mulvaney.
H.R. 6972, the Consumers First Act, goes out of its way to accuse Mulvaney of “misguided actions” that “hamstring the good work and the capacity of dedicated professional, career Consumer Bureau staff to hold bad actors accountable for their misdeeds will inevitably harm consumers and distort the functioning of fair and competitive consumer marketplaces, and nonsensically repeats the mistakes made by the Federal financial regulators that contributed to the global financial crisis.”
Among other changes proposed by the bill are:
- Restoring the supervisory and enforcement powers of the agency’s fair lending office
- Reestablishes a dedicated student loan office
- Reactivates prior agreements promoting effective interagency efforts, including one with the Department of Education related to student lending
- Requires adequate agency staffing, including for supervision and enforcement, to fully carry out the agency’s statutory mandates
“Under prior leadership, the Consumer Bureau returned $12 billion to nearly 30 million consumers who have been harmed by financial institutions, handled over 1.3 million consumer complaints about financial institutions, and made the financial marketplace stronger and fairer for all Americans,” Rep. Waters said in a statement. “But under Trump and Mulvaney’s direction, consumers come last. This critically important agency must get back to work fulfilling its statutory purpose and actually protect Americans from unfair, deceptive or abusive practices.”
While it is unlikely that the bill will make any progress during the current Congressional session, it could make waves during the next session of Congress, especially if Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives, which would put Rep. Waters in line to be the head of the Financial Services Committee.