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Waters bill would reverse Mulvaney's deregulatory efforts at CFPB

WASHINGTON — Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., unveiled a bill Tuesday to unwind Consumer Financial Protection Bureau policies instituted by acting Director Mick Mulvaney.

“It is clear that President Trump and ... [Mulvaney] are doing everything in their power to roll back consumer protections, strip the Consumer Bureau of its resources and prioritize Wall Street at the expense of Consumers,” said Waters, ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, in a press release.

The bill, called the Consumers First Act, seeks to reverse Trump administration steps to soften the regulator’s aggressive approach. Waters' press release particularly called out efforts by the bureau to slow fair-lending enforcement, limit enforcement of payday lenders and hinder coordination with other agencies, among other things.

In addition to moving the bureau's focus back to how it operated under the Obama administration, the bill would also require the CFPB to provide Congress with documents about the agency's allegedly having withheld data on student lending, to reinstate members of the disbanded Consumer Advisory Board, and to ensure that the bureau's consumer complaint database remains accessible to the public.

“This critically important agency must get back to work fulfilling its statutory purpose and actually protect Americans from unfair, deceptive or abusive practices,” Waters said.

Waters also criticized Mulvaney’s attempts to rename the agency the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, which she called “a petty attempt to reduce the public’s awareness of, and significant support for, the agency’s role as the top Federal consumer watchdog."

The announcement of the bill comes just a day after Waters and 12 other lawmakers sent a letter to Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, urging him to investigate allegations that the CFPB has failed to protect student loan borrowers.

While the legislation has little chance of moving forward in the GOP-held Congress, many polls indicate the Democrats are favored to seize control of the House in the midterm elections in November. In that scenario, Waters would become the likely chair of the House Financial Services Committee, and this bill could foreshadow her priorities.

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