Brown, Waters Join CFPB Fight

CapitolHill-BHTwo Democratic members of Congress joined the legal battle to preserve the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau as it stands today.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) filed a motion to intervene on Thursday in the CFPB’s defense of its current one-director structure.

The invention was filed in regard to a case currently being heard by the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, PHH v. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. An October ruling found the CFPB’s current framework violates the Constitution’s separation of powers clause.

Brown is the current ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee and Waters is the current ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.

They argue in the motion that Congress decided on the single-director upon its creation in 2010 so it could effectively fulfill its mandate.

“It knew that the CFPB’s effectiveness could be hampered by the delay and gridlock to which commissions are susceptible,” the lawmakers said in their motion. “By nullifying the removal protections for the Director provided for in Dodd-Frank, and thus transforming the CFPB into an executive agency subject to the policy direction of the President, the panel decision fundamentally altered the Bureau and hindered its ability to play the role that Congress intended.”

The two lawmakers, represented by the D.C. law firm Constitutional Accountability Center, said they felt the need to step in legally because not only did the court’s panel decision nullify their vote in favor of the CFPB’s independent status, but also nullifies the vote establishing single-director independent agencies in the future.

“It has become increasingly clear,” their motion said, that their “interests may no longer be adequately represented by the new administration.”

Attorneys general from 16 states and the District of Columbia moved earlier last week to intervene in the case as well.

Meanwhile, lawyers with PHH said in a January 27 filing that the government hasn’t made a compelling case for a review of the ruling by the D.C. Circuit’s full complement of judges.

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