Rep. Hensarling presses CFPB on overreach

The House Financial Services Committee held a full hearing on Tuesday to investigate potential overreach by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Attending the hearing was CFPB Director Richard Cordray. U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), the committee’s chairman, had the floor for the opening statement.

“The CFPB undoubtedly remains the single most powerful and least accountable Federal agency in all of Washington,” he said. “When it comes to the credit cards, auto loans and mortgages of hardworking taxpayers the CFPB has unbridled, discretionary power not only to make those less available and more expensive, but to absolutely take them away.”

Hensarling suggested that, as a result of the CFRB’s power, Americans are losing both their financial independence and the protection of the rule of law.

“The bureau is fundamentally unaccountable to the president since the director can only be removed for cause,” he said. “Fundamentally unaccountable to Congress because the bureau’s funding is not subject to appropriations. Fundamentally unaccountable to the courts because Dodd-Frank requires courts to grant the CFPB deference regarding its interpretation of Federal consumer financial law. Thus, the bureau regrettably remains unaccountable to the American people. That is why we need the CFPB on budget and led by a bipartisan commission.”
 
Hensarling further questioned the state of consumer protection, as well as the level of transparency, in his opening remarks.

“Who will protect consumers from the overreach of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?” Hensarling asked. “True consumer protection requires access to competitive, transparent and innovative markets vigorously policed for force, fraud and deception. True consumer protection empowers consumers and respects their economic freedoms to make important informed choices free from government interference and fiat.”