WASHINGTON The Republican-led House approved a bill Thursday evening that would drastically alter the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act, introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., passed the chamber 232-182. The bill would replace the agency's director with a five-member commission and subject it to congressional appropriations, among other changes. Democrats have vigorously opposed such structural changes, with just 10 voting in support of the legislation.
"The bill replaces the bureau's single, unaccountable director with a bipartisan board. It puts the bureau's employees, whose compensation and benefits average $178,521 it puts them on the civil service pay scale," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, during a floor speech in support of the bill on Thursday. "It introduces a safety and soundness check on its regulations, and gives the American people greater control over the massive quantities of personal financial data that the bureau is collecting and maintaining on them at this time."
The legislation is not expected to be taken up by the Senate, which has a Democratic majority. Senate lawmakers struck a deal over the summer confirming CFPB Director Richard Cordray, removing much of the leverage Republicans had for forcing major changes to the agency.
"Today's vote is just the latest chapter in a relentless Republican attack on consumer protection. Since opening its doors in 2011, the CFPB has gone to bat for those who have been subject to the deceptive practices of unscrupulous financial institutions," said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member on the House banking panel. "And though it has been immensely successful, Republicans have tried to undercut it in every way possible."