WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton staunchly defended the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday in a letter urging House Democrats to stand by the agency’s single-director structure.
The Financial Services Committee approved a bill last week to change the consumer agency to a five-person commission. The vote was largely split down the aisle, except for two Democrats who co-sponsored the measure. At the same time, several others suggested at the markup that they were open to discussing the issue further. The White House and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., were reportedly active in keeping Democrats largely unified at the vote, with Clinton now weighing in.
The legislation “would undermine the agency’s effectiveness by replacing the CFPB director with a five-person commission,” Clinton wrote, in a letter first reported by Politico. “If this bill passes, consumers’ primary advocate in the U.S. government would have to fight with one hand tied behind its back. Perhaps that’s exactly what Republicans and their corporate allies want.”
Clinton’s primary contenders — Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley — have come out strongly against large banks, likely outflanking the former secretary of state on the left. But this move and others, including recent support of a bill to shut the revolving door between the private sector and government, suggests that Clinton is not looking to align herself too closely with Wall Street despite collecting substantial banking industry contributions.
The Democratic front-runner has said she will roll out a plan to address excessive risk and abuses on Wall Street in the next week. She will also appear at the first Democratic debate in Las Vegas on Oct. 13.
“I also hope you’ll stand with me in opposing any other efforts to roll back the Dodd-Frank Act’s financial reforms in the upcoming budget and debt ceiling negotiations, including attempts to attach riders and take advantage of ‘must-pass’ bills,” she added in the letter. “We can’t go back to the days when Wall Street could write its own rules.”