Republicans Have Voted To Eliminate CFPB
The majority of House 234 Republicans voted last month to do away with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). All but one, in fact. This bureau provides protection for the average Joe against banks, credit card companies, mortgage service providers, foreclosure relief companies, debt collectors and other larger scale companies in cases of scams and fraud. The bureau was established after the onset of the recession back in 2008 under the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and serves as the first federal agency to investigate and hold financial institutions accountable for misleading or mistreating consumers.
One of the first tasks of the CFPB was creating simplified documents for closing home sales in order to help do away with the mortgage crisis. It has also taken on a host of other controversial financial products, like payday loans and student loans. More than 700,000 consumers have filed a complaint with the bureau, and in the past five years alone, the CFPB has returned nearly $12 billion to borrowers who were subject to deceptive business practices.
The House’s voted upon measure would weaken just about everything the agency does to protect consumers, including eliminating its power to investigate and punish deceptive practices, hide from public view a database which allows consumers to seek help to resolve their complaints, do away with specialized offices that help students, senior citizens and veterans with financial problems, and eliminate the agency’s authority to write new rules for loans issued by payday lenders.
The measure would also make the director vulnerable to firing at the president’s discretion whenever he chooses. Currently, the director can only be fired for a legitimate cause such as “inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance”. Under the new legislation, if Trump wakes up one day and decides he wants to eliminate the position, he’ll be able to do so.
Many lawmakers have weighed in and believe that there will be limited effect on protecting consumers should the new provisions be put into place and if there are changes, these won’t be seen for quite some time. Republicans have wanted to do away with the bureau and its supposedly tedious regulations for a while, citing its ineffectiveness and uselessness. “Most troubling is the fact that the CFPB is completely unaccountable to Congress and the American people,” Rep. John Ratcliffe (D-Texas) wrote in a letter regarding why he voted against the bureau and has sponsored the House version of the Repeal CFPB Act. “This unique setup makes the CFPB the least accountable regulatory agency in the federal government; a situation that invites regulatory excess and abuse.”
President Trump pledged that if he took office he would protect Americans from those who “robbed our working class”. So, one may question why he is attempting to dismantle the Dodd-Frank law and do away with the bureau altogether, which seems completely counter-intuitive to his original plans. Looks like when faced with a choice between helping consumers or siding with the players with the most money for campaigning, republicans have made their choice clear.