Bachus: Passing Bills To Weaken The Consumer Protection Bureau Is GOP’s Way Of Making The Bureau ‘A Success’

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL)

The House today is scheduled to vote on a bill that would significantly weaken the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which officially opens for business tomorrow. The bill — sponsored by House Financial Services Chairman Spencer “serve the banks” Bachus (R-AL) — would abolish the position of Bureau Director, instead instituting a five-person board to run the agency, and also make it easier for the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to overturn the Bureau’s rules.

These two changes would strike at the heart of the bureau’s independence and weaken its ability to protect consumer from financial industry excess. However, according to Bachus, the bill’s are merely the GOP’s way of ensuring that the bureau is a “success“:

Speaking with reporters, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) said he did not want to see the bureau eliminated, but refined…“Now that the CFPB’s been passed into law, I think it’s incumbent on us to try to work to see that it’s a success,” he said.

In a sense, Bachus would be true to his word: the bill would make the bureau a success from the financial industry’s perspective, as it would be rendered weaker than other bank regulators and made incapable of doing its work in an effective fashion. Already, the FSOC has the ability to block any of the bureau’s rules (a veto threat under which no other agency has to operate); Bachus’ bill would make it easer for bank-centric regulators to stop the bureau’s common-sense attempts to regulate financial products.

The bill would also “prevent the CFPB from taking on any powers unless a Senate-confirmed director is in place,” which is an obvious ploy to stop the bureau from doing anything at all, since Senate Republicans have said they will filibuster anyone President Obama names to the directorship. All in all, the bill makes it clear that House Republicans want the Bureau to be entirely ineffective, since they’ve realized that repealing it is not in the cards.