Bill Introduced in House to Change CFPB Leadership to Commission

A bill has been introduced in Congress to change the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to a five-member bipartisan commission from its current form where it is helmed by a single director.

The bill, H.R. 6116, was introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer [R-Miss.], last week.

The bill was introduced two days after the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that seeks to determine whether the CFPB’s current leadership structure is constitutional or not.

Rep. Luetkemeyer’s bill would change the structure of the CFPB to that of the Federal Trade Commission or the Federal Communications Commission, which are run by five commissioners, one of whom is the chairman. The commissioners are nominated for five-year-terms by the President and confirmed by the Senate and whichever political party is in the White House usually has the majority of commissioners.

The bill would amend the Consumer Financial Protection Act to alter the CFPB’s leadership structure. It will be interesting to see how far the bill progresses in Congress. Democrats would very much like to see the current director of the CFPB replaced with someone they consider to be more protective of consumers, but she can only be fired for cause, currently, pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case. With a presidential election coming in November, Democrats may want to take their chances that President Trump loses the election and the new president fires Kathy Kraninger and replaces her with someone more in line with their views.

“As former CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney said himself, the CFPB’s ‘lack of accountability to any representative branch of government should be a warning sign that a lapse in democratic structure and republican principles has occurred,’ Rep Luetkemeyer said in a statement. “He went on to say the power the director possesses ‘should frighten people.’ That power has raised so many alarms that the United States Supreme Court is currently deliberating on whether the position is even constitutional. 

“Regardless of the Court’s decision, the fact of the matter is no single person should wield such unabated power over our economy, which is the exact reason many financial regulators are guided by a commission. My bill eliminates the director position in favor of a commission to ensure the CPFB can be held accountable and maintain the transparency the American people expect.”

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