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Public Statements

Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, let me say at the outset that I was a strong supporter in our committee for the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and remained a strong supporter of the bureau and its mission. The reason I did that was because all of these regulators had within their authority a consumer protection initiative. Unfortunately, that consumer protection obligation was subordinate to other obligations that each of the regulators had.

So when we started talking about this, I kept saying to them, look, we need a consumer regulator that has as much authority as and the least cumbersomeness of any of the other regulators. So if you're going to create a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, don't give the other regulators authority to reverse them unless you give the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau the authority to reverse the other regulators. Now, if you think that's fair, do it both ways.

This is the only agency that ended up with the other regulators, the Federal Reserve, the OCC, the FDIC, having the authority to reverse them; and we were able to restrict it to things that were in their jurisdiction. If it was a systemic risk that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was creating by promulgating a rule or regulation, then we thought it was fair to have them police what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was doing.

But I don't know of any reason that we would create a child of an agency to deal with consumer protection when we don't have a child of an agency dealing with other aspects of the regulation in our financial services industry.

So for me, this is just about parity. Give this agency equal authority and oomph as the other agencies had. And we are not asking that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau be able to overrule the Federal Reserve when it makes a decision. We're not asking that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau be able to overrule the OCC when it makes a determination. Neither should we be allowing those other agencies, the FDIC, the OCC, the Federal Reserve, to overrule the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when they are not acting within their authority.

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