Victorious House Democrats make saving consumer agency a top priority
The newly elected Democratic House majority is going to have its hands full fighting off both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the orange behemoth in the White House. At the top of the list is providing a bulwark for key Obama-era achievements against further erosion. They're starting with the Republicans' most hated thing, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Because how dare anyone try to stand in the banksters' way to defend consumers.
Rep. Lacy Clay of Missouri, slated to lead the House Financial Services subcommittee with jurisdiction over the agency, says that preventing more mischief by the Trump administration to erode the CFPB will «be a battle with this administration, and it would be a test of wills. […] I'm ready to fight that battle.» Rep. Maxine Waters (CA), who will take the gavel of the full committee won't just fight off Trump, but will try to «reverse the harmful changes the Trump administration has imposed.»
That could include investigating some of the hinky decisions from the tenure of Trump's lackey Mick Mulvaney, the Office of Management and Budget director who has been moonlighting as the head of the agency, making lots of decisions that benefited his old cronies and campaign donors. The Senate is set to vote on his permanent replacement, the laughably unqualified Kathy Kraninger, during the lame duck session. But pressure to investigate some of Mulvaney's actions will come from outside groups like Allied Progress. As its director, Karl Frisch, says «You can't protect consumers without looking at and investigating the CFPB under Mick Mulvaney. […] We certainly need to know what motivated decisions that are now in place—it doesn't matter who's in charge at that point.»
Waters has already declared that «the days of this committee weakening regulations and putting our economy once again at risk of another financial crisis will come to an end.» She has legislation ready to go to, in her words, «reverse the harmful changes the Trump administration has imposed.» That includes the decision to collapse the student loan and fair lending offices into larger divisions as well as stack the bureau with political appointees. Her bill would also make sure the consumer complaint database remain available to the public and also restore a panel of Consumer Advisory Board members that Mulvaney summarily dismissed this summer.
She can't get that through the Senate with McConnell in charge, but she's creating the roadmap for restoring the agency to full strength when Democrats take over government again. In the meantime, what the House can do is prevent more damage and preserve the CFPB's structure.