H.R. 1265, a bill calling for more transparency from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by the vote of 401 to 2 earlier this week.
The bill, better known as the Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act, was introduced by Representative Sean Duffy (R-Wisconsin) on March 4 with co-sponsors Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and Andy Barr (R-Kentucky). The bill calls for each advisory committee and subcommittee of the CFPB to be subject to the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, making the proceedings of those committees open to the public.
"This bill ensures we as an American family can see what takes place at the CFPB – it makes complete sense," Duffy said during the debate on H.R. 1265. "This is about making government work; making it accountable and transparent. That should start at these meetings." To watch Duffy's remarks during the debate, click here.
Many Republican lawmakers have long viewed the CFPB, which was created out of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act of 2010, as overreaching and unaccountable, and have been pushing for a major overhaul of the Bureau since gaining a majority in both the House and the Senate in November. Some Democrats have criticized Republicans' efforts at reforming the CFPB and have repeatedly vowed to fight any legislative attempts at such reform, but H.R. 1265 passed in the House with overwhelming bipartisan support – 230 Republicans and 171 Democrats voted in favor of the bill. The only two who voted nay were Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velázquez, both Democrats from New York.
House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-California), who has been a vocal critic of Republicans' efforts to reform the CFPB, was one of the 401 representatives who voted in favor of the bill.
A CFPB spokesman declined to comment on H.R. 1265, but noted that the full meetings of the CFPB's Consumer Advisory Board and Councils have been open to the public since May 2014.
H.R. 1265 has been received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. That committee is currently chaired by Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), who in the past has lamented the CFPB's lack of accountability.
Other legislation attempting to reform the CFPB is currently pending. Duffy introduced several other bills in early March as part of a comprehensive reform proposal. In February, Representatives Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Tim Walz (D-Minnesota) revived a bipartisan bill that would create an independent Inspector General for the CFPB that is appointed by the president and approved by the Senate. The Bureau currently shares an IG with the Federal Reserve, a position that is appointed by the Fed chair and not subject to Senate approval.