Oct 06 2011

Republicans Continue Push for Accountability at Consumer Bureaucracy

Earlier this year, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and 43 of his Senate colleagues sent a letter to President Obama expressing their serious concerns about the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s lack of accountability.  The letter also proposed three reasonable reforms to the Bureau’s structure. To date, neither the President nor the majority has made any effort to work with Republicans to improve the accountability of the Bureau.  Instead, the President nominated Richard Cordray to be the Bureau’s first Director. 

This week, the President let slip his true vision for the Bureau—to dictate what consumers can buy and how much they will pay. The President’s comments reveal the grave economic impact that this unchecked bureaucracy could have on the American economy.

Senator Shelby made the following statement regarding the executive session of the Senate Banking Committee to consider the nomination of Richard Cordray to be Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection:

“The Bureau must be fully accountable to the American people. The Republican proposal does not strip the Bureau of any existing or new authority to protect consumers.  We are simply seeking commonsense changes.  Today’s vote by the Senate Banking Committee was premature.  No nominee for the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection should receive consideration until the Democrats are ready to stop playing politics and work with us to make the Bureau accountable.  It’s their choice.”

Committee Republicans stood in unanimous opposition to Mr. Cordray’s nomination.

U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) made the following statement: “I will not support the consideration of any nominee to be the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director until the structure of the bureau is reformed to enhance consumer protection while ensuring accountability.  The bureau is a massive new, expensive government bureaucracy that is immunized against meaningful oversight and dramatically extends the federal government’s control over the economy.”

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) made the following statement: "Boards of directors serve an important function, and that's why regulators, non-profits, corporations and universities all have them. We are simply asking that this enormously powerful new agency have checks and balances in place that protect the country from an overly-zealous director."

U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.) made the following statement: “We’ve outlined our serious reservations about the authority the law currently gives to the credit czar, and those concerns will remain no matter who fills that position. The president’s comments this week underscore our concerns that the CFPB is more about micromanaging banks than protecting consumers.  In light of the real potential for overreach, it’s a mistake to proceed on any nomination for this position until we’ve made some specific reforms that will provide necessary accountability and a check on the credit czar’s power.”

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) made the following statement: “My colleagues and I stand by our pledge that no nominee to head the CFPB will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate – regardless of party affiliation – without basic changes to the Bureau’s structure. My request is not radical; I am simply asking that we increase accountability at the CFPB by restoring the commonsense structure that President Obama originally proposed for the bureaucracy. It is unfortunate we find ourselves in this position, but I remain hopeful that the Administration will act in the best interests of consumers.”