Will Republicans finally succeed in ousting Cordray?

by Ryan Smith03 Feb 2017

Republican lawmakers are renewing their push to replace the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, despite Democratic vows to fight any change.

On Tuesday, three Republican senators — Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced a bill that would replace the CFPB director with a five-member committee, according to a HousingWire report.

The current bill is actually the third version of the legislation, which Fischer tried to introduce in two previous congressional sessions without success. And even if either previous version had made it out of the Senate, a veto by President Obama was almost certain.

But that could all change now that President Trump is in the White House. With observers seeing signs Trump will move to weaken the CFPB, the bill could now have a chance.

The agency is already fighting attempts to change its structure. Last year, a court of appeals ruled the structure of the CFPB unconstitutional, saying that the provision that the agency’s head could only be fired for cause gave too little accountability to Director Richard Cordray. The CFPB is appealing the ruling, and congressional Democrats and state attorneys general are backing the agency up.

But even if the court rehears the case and rules in the CFPB’s favor, the point could be rendered moot by Fischer’s bill, HousingWire reported.

If the bill were to become law, a five-member board — no more than three of whom could belong to the same political party — would be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Board members could be removed by the president for “inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office,” according to the bill.

“My bill would prevent this misconduct by divesting the authority from one director to a five-member bipartisan board,” Fischer said. “This much-needed structural adjustment would bring accountability to the bureau and give more Americans a chance to build their own businesses and provide for their families.”

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