Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., joined his Republican colleagues in calling for accountability and reform before any nomination for Director of the Bureau of Consumer Finance Protection (CFPB) moves forward.
Enzi and 44 other Senate Republicans sent President Obama a letter in May expressing concerns over the lack of accountability and the “unfettered authority presently granted to the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.” Enzi said under the current law, the CFBP will have unprecedented reach and control over individual consumer decisions – and an unprecedented lack of oversight and accountability. Such unchecked authority will come at the expense of access to credit, job creation, economic growth, and financial stability to thousands of entrepreneurs, small businesses owners and the American people.
“Everyone supports consumer protection,” said Enzi. “No one should support this amount of power in the hands of a single, unaccountable, unelected bureaucrat. The American people want accountable policy makers, not more czars.”
The letter urged adoption of three reforms to make the CFPB more accountable to both citizens and Congress:
1) Establish a board of directors to oversee the CFPB. The bureau should be governed by a board of directors to limit the impact a single person can have on the direction of the agency. Diversifying leadership of the CFPB would also reduce the potential for politicizing the CFPB and would ensure consideration of multiple viewpoints in the CFPB’s decision-making. The Federal Reserve Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation are all organized using the board of directors model.
2) Subject the CFPB to the appropriations process. To prevent wasteful or inappropriate spending that lacks oversight, the CFPB should be subject to the Congressional appropriations process.
3) Establish a safety-and-soundness check for regulators. Federal bank regulators should be given meaningful tools to prevent the CFPB’s regulations from needlessly causing failures. Providing this check by regulators will allow a reasonable restraint on the CFPB’s authority and ensure that the CFPB’s regulations strike the right balance between consumer protection and safety-and-soundness.
"I fought for greater oversight and accountability of the CFPB during the financial reform debate because of the agency’s potential to abuse power and cross consumers’ privacy boundaries,” said Enzi. “Without reform, it is only a matter of time before this concentration of power is abused at the expense of American consumers and businesses. It is an unfortunate circumstance when the President and the majority chooses to ignore our request rather than work with us to improve the bureau’s accountability. When all of the bureau’s power is concentrated in its current form, consumers will have no recourse and that is bad policy for the American people.”
The Senate voted 53-45-1 against moving forward with the nomination of Richard Cordray, nominated to be the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Sixty votes were needed to advance the nomination.