WASHINGTON House Republicans reintroduced several hot-button bills this week, helping to set the stage for some of the political fights to come later in the year.
Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., teed up a package of reforms to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday that would subject the agency to congressional appropriations; require it to notify consumers before collecting data; allow the Financial Stability Oversight Council to overturn CFPB rules with a simple majority vote instead of a two-thirds vote; and put agency employees on the government pay scale.
The effort builds on legislation released by Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, on Wednesday that would replace the CFPB director with a five-person bipartisan commission a longtime idea pushed by conservative critics of the agency.
"This bill is not an attempt to weaken the CFPB, it is a push to strengthen the CFPB and ensure greater consumer protections for the American people," Neugebauer said in a press release.
A similar package of CFPB changes proposed by Duffy last year, The Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act, included a provision to make the bureau into a commission and passed the House largely along party lines, with a vote of 232-182.
Meanwhile, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., reintroduced legislation to remove a $50 billion threshold in the Dodd-Frank Act, above which banks must comply with enhanced prudential standards. Under the bill, regulators would instead analyze business activity and risk when applying regulations, rather than relying on the asset cut-off.
The Financial Services Committee didn't take up The Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act last year, but Luetkemeyer's bill attracted 81 co-sponsors, including 20 Democrats.
The issue is expected to come up for debate again this year this time in both the House and Senate and could be a key driver for any regulatory reform package Congress considers.
"This legislation supports economic growth in the country because not only does it allow our community and regional banks to lend without certain burdens of lending, but it more closely bases the regulation of financial institutions on risk rather than arbitrary asset size," Luetkemeyer said in a statement Wednesday.