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Washington
A second House committee approves CFPA legislation with changes
WASHINGTON (10/30/09)--The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday approved H.R. 3126, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) Act of 2009, by a recorded vote of 33 to 19. The committee also attached a managers’ amendment, introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), which would shift CFPA authority from a single executive to a five-member commission of presidential appointees. The committee also approved a separate amendment that would require the Comptroller General to examine the effects that any regulations issued by the CFPA have had on small businesses. Commenting on the managers’ amendment, House Financial Services Chairman Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said that these changes would “weaken the capacity of the agency to provide consumer protection.” “The director will have the benefit of an oversight board of bank regulators and consumer groups as well as a diverse advisory board to provide broader input. But that input should be provided without diminishing the capacity to act promptly and effectively which is best done by a single regulator,” Frank added. The CFPA legislation, which passed the House Financial Services Committee last week by a vote of 39-29, would seek to protect consumers of financial products through the creation of a powerful independent agency with extensive rulemaking, oversight, and enforcement tools. The Energy and Commerce Committee oversees the Federal Trade Commission, which, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, would be strengthened by the CFPA legislation and would "craft regulations more quickly" and have a greater ability to "impose civil penalties on companies." Although the goal of consumer protection is a worthy one, Credit Union National Association President/CEO Dan Mica said that he has "significant concerns about the impact that elements of this legislation will have on credit unions and their members." CUNA is working with Frank to modify the bill before it moves on to the full House. To see the managers' amendment in full, use the resource link.
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