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Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LYNCH. I want to thank the gentleman for yielding and for his advocacy on behalf of the American consumer.

The Dodd-Frank Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with the sole purpose of ensuring that financial markets work for, and not against, American families. It established a single director empowered with a singular mandate which is simply to protect the consumer.

This bill, H.R. 1315, seeks to weaken the CFPB on the day it opens its doors for the first time in two important ways. First, it would make it more difficult for the Consumer Protection Bureau to act by replacing the director with a five-member commission.

As has been shown, a single director with executive authority and who is directly responsible to the American consumer is better suited to act quickly to address problems in the consumer financial markets, and he or she will be directly accountable to Congress for the bureau's actions.

On the other hand, a five-member commission creates another bureaucracy that would be both less effective and less accountable to consumers. A five-member commission would also, in this case, cost taxpayers an additional $71 million.

To offset the cost of these commissioners and their staffs, we're being asked to use the money from a Federal Housing Administration program created to help responsible Americans who have continued to make mortgage payments refinance their underwater homes. According to Mark Flemming, the chief economist for the property research company CoreLogic, underwater mortgages are a primary factor holding back the housing market and the economy as a whole.

So instead of working to solve this problem and boost our economy, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have decided that our money is better spent unnecessarily expanding the bureaucracy at the CFPB.

H.R. 1315 would also make it much easier for the same regulators who in many cases were captured by the industry that they oversee and who fell down on the job in the lead-up to the financial crisis, to now overrule the CFPB. These regulators proved that they were not capable of ensuring the soundness of the financial system while simultaneously protecting American consumers.

I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill.


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