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McHenry: Republicans Will Continue to Work to Advance Solutions, Not Soundbites

McHenry: Republicans Will Continue to Work to Advance Solutions, Not Soundbites

Partisan, Politically Motivated Consumers First Act Passes House

May 22, 2019 

WASHINGTON – Today, House Democrats chose to put politics ahead of consumers by passing partisan legislation to alter portions of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). H.R. 1500, the Consumers First Act, ignores the fundamental flaw of the CFPB, its unaccountability, which Republicans have raised since its establishment under the partisan Dodd-Frank Act.

Read House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry’s (NC-10) remarks from the House floor in opposition of H.R. 1500 below or watch here.

“Let me say from the outset about this bill, it proves what Republicans have said since the passage of Dodd-Frank: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unaccountable.

“We’re here today because Democrats regret that, during Dodd-Frank, they didn’t go far enough in mandating outcomes by this Bureau, because they didn’t consider a Republican could actually be a leader of that Bureau. And they may not like the action of that unaccountable director. 

“They have buyer’s remorse. Unfortunately, they’ve decided to advance legislation that does nothing to create a more responsible CFPB over the long-term.

“Instead of taking this opportunity to work together to bring transparency and accountability to the CFPB, the Majority is moving a bill that does little more than advance their political agenda and micro-manage the Bureau.

“H.R. 1500 codifies and re-creates offices inside the CFPB, some of which are given more authority and some of which, like the Office of Cost-Benefit Analysis, are given less.

“H.R. 1500 also directs what Bureau staff can refer to the Bureau as in public.

“Now let me explain, if you call it the “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” under this bill, it’s okay. If you call it the “CFPB,” you’re okay. If you refer to it as “the Bureau” you’ve actually broken the law.

“That’s actually one of the more substantive changes in the bill and I don’t think it’s wise legislating by Congress.

“That represents the “policy” side of the legislation. One look at this bill’s findings is enough to tell us what H.R. 1500 is really about.

“There are more pages of findings than there are of actual legislative text. The issues they raised in the findings section, however, are not remedied in the legislative text part of the bill.

“In a series of disparaging statements, former Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, a former colleague of ours here in the House and a member of the Financial Services Committee, and Director Kathy Kraninger are vilified as irresponsible zealots. 

“Specifically, the text describes former Acting Director Mulvaney as “anti-consumer,” “destructive,” and “inane,” only working “to hamstring the good work, passion, and the capacity of dedicated [staff].”

“The findings opine that the “appointment of Mr. Mulvaney [aimed] to diminish and undermine the…mission of the Consumer Bureau.”

“This is a highly suspect section of legislation before this House. I don’t think it’s becoming of this House to opine in this way.

“With that context in mind, we know this bill isn’t about helping consumers. This bill is about constraining Republican Directors from making decisions they believe are in the best interest of the agency.

“In the Financial Services Committee markup, Republicans offered amendments that would have made responsible changes to the Bureau.

“Had those amendments been adopted, the Majority would have a much better bill.

“An inspector general could have provided oversight of the director, ensuring the mission of the agency is not undermined. Subjecting the Bureau to the annual appropriations process would have ensured Congress had increased oversight of the CFPB, and a voice in the prioritization of Bureau functions.

“A GAO study examining the efficacy in which the Bureau meets its statutory obligations would have yielded insight into the workings of an otherwise opaque Bureau.

“But those amendments weren’t adopted. The choice was made to move forward with a partisan declaration instead of meaningful legislation.

“Unfortunately, we can’t improve this legislation through a meaningful amendment process because of the nature of the rule passed by the Rules Committee.

“We’re merely adding more political fodder for press releases. H.R. 1500 will pass the House and will go nowhere in the Senate.

“The Financial Services Committee will then turn to the next issue. Hopefully, it’s bipartisan legislating where Chairwoman Waters and I have had success in the past and I hope we have success in the future.

“But to the American people, I say that Financial Services Committee Republicans remain committed to bettering this organization of the CFPB. We will protect consumers while maximizing financial choice. We will work to advance solutions, not soundbites. It is my sincere hope we can do that with cooperation from the Majority.

“I ask my colleagues to join me in opposing H.R. 1500, legislation that puts politics first, not consumers.

“With that, I reserve the balance of my time.”

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