Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, signed onto an amicus brief filed today with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s petition to have the entire court revisit an earlier decision by a three-judge panel that struck down the Bureau’s structure.
Waters was joined by 20 current and former Members of Congress in supporting the CFPB’s appeal in PHH Corp. v. CFPB, including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-MA), Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), former Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
“By severing the for-cause removal provision, the panel decision fundamentally altered the CFPB’s structure in a way that is at odds with Congress’s design and will undermine the CFPB’s ability to fulfill its important role under Dodd-Frank,” the Members wrote.
The brief highlights the reasons that Congress decided to structure the CFPB with a single director removable for cause under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Congress understood that the nation needed a new regulator that could respond quickly and effectively to new threats to consumers, and that a commission structure could meaningfully hamper the CFPB’s effectiveness. Its “for cause” provision also ensures that the Bureau is independent enough to regulate effectively.
The brief also details the reasons that the October decision by a conservative panel of three judges is at odds with the text of the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent.
“The panel’s conclusion that the CFPB’s structure is unconstitutional flatly contradicts all of these decisions, and it does so principally because it views multi-member commissions as superior to agencies led by a single director. The panel improperly elevated that policy judgment—one properly made by Congress—into a holding of constitutional law. That was plainly wrong, and consideration by the en banc court is thus warranted.”