A bill has been introduced in the Senate — by outgoing Senator Pat Toomey [R-Penn.], the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee — that aims to place the budget and funding of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the congressional appropriations process while also changing the leadership structure of the Bureau to a five-member commission.
“Under Director Chopra, the CFPB is more out of control than ever,” said Sen. Toomey in a statement. “The CFPB Stability Act will make the agency constitutional and accountable to Congress and the American people by subjecting it to congressional appropriations and converting it into a bipartisan, multi-member commission just like the FDIC and SEC.”
Sen. Toomey is using the recent decision from the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which found the funding structure of the CFPB to be unconstitutional, as grounds for the release of his bill. But this is an idea that has been floated legislatively on many different occasions through the years and has never seen significant interest. Whether the Appeals Court decision changes the minds of those in Congress to act is probably unlikely, given that the current session is about to expire. The CFPB has filed a petition with the Supreme Court to hear arguments in whether the decision from the Fifth Circuit should be allowed to stand or not.
If enacted, the leadership structure of the CFPB would align with those at other regulatory agencies like the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, which are both also subject to the congressional appropriations process. Currently, the CFPB receives its funding by requesting allocations from the Federal Reserve Board.