U.S. consumer watchdog targeted for budget cuts by Republican lawmaker

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WASHINGTON A leading Republican lawmaker on
Thursday proposed cutting funds for the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau as a way to eliminate the U.S. agency that
writes banking rules.

Created by the Obama administration in the wake of the
2007-09 financial crisis, the CFPB has enraged many Republicans
who believe it has overstepped its enforcement authority. Jeb Hensarling, the Republican chairman of the House
Financial Services Committee, said the CFPB could be “functionally terminated” if Congress simply drained the
agency’s budget. Republicans control the upper chamber of Congress and a
routine vote there could starve the CFPB, Hensarling wrote in a
Wall Street Journal op-ed.

“The senate can achieve this with a simple majority vote,”
Hensarling wrote.

He and other Republicans argue the CFPB only layers red
tape and costly regulations on a lending industry that is
already sufficiently supervised.

As a budget matter, Hensarling’s plan would only require 51
votes in the senate. A proposal to actually reform the CFPB
would require 60 votes.

Democratic senators like Elizabeth Warren, who helped devise
the agency, and Sherrod Brown, the party’s leader on the Banking
Committee, could stand in the way of such a 60-vote measure in
the senate.

A U.S. appeals court last week rejected separate bids by 16
states and two Democratic lawmakers to defend the agency in a
legal battle that could strip it of powers.



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