WASHINGTON (5/6/11)—A group of 44 Republican senators in a Thursday letter to President Barack Obama said that they would not confirm any potential Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director, “regardless of party affiliation,” unless structural changes are made to the bureau. Among the modifications suggested by the legislators are replacing a single CFPB director with a multiple-member board, subjecting the CFPB’s funding to the congressional appropriations process, and establishing “a safety-and-soundness check for the prudential financial regulators.” The senators said that the CFPB director “will have a profound influence on the future of our economy and job creation,” and added that they want to ensure that this influence is not used for political purposes. The House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit addressed some of the senators’ CFPB concerns on Wednesday, approving a trio of bills that it maintains would "strengthen consumer protection and bring transparency, oversight and accountability" to the CFPB. As reported in March, Elizabeth Warren, the Obama administration official tasked with setting up the CFPB, appreared before a House Financial Services subcommittee to defend the CFPB against complaints that it lacks transparency. She said the new consumer protection bureau is the nation’s most accountable financial regulator, the only one, she has noted, the rules if which can be overruled by a group of other agencies. The approved by the subcommittee are:
* H.R. 1315, which would modify the voting procedure of the Financial Stability Oversight Council when voting to stay or set aside rules finalized by the CFPB; * H.R. 1121, which would replace the single CFPB director with a five-member Consumer Financial Protection Commission; and * H.R. 1667, which would delay the transfer of consumer protection functions to the CFPB if a director is not in place by the July 21 start up date.
The three bills are scheduled to come up for a vote in the full House Financial Services Committee on May 12.