Following the D.C. Circuit granting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (Consumer Bureau) petition for rehearing en banc in the PHH case, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, and 40 Democratic Members filed an amicus brief today with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the Consumer Bureau’s independent structure and its constitutionality.
“After extensively studying the roots of this crisis…Congress established a consolidated federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, with the sole mission of protecting Americans from harmful practices of the financial services industry,” the lawmakers wrote. “In creating the Bureau, lawmakers determined that it needed two key attributes to fulfill its mission: independence, and the ability to act promptly and decisively in response to new threats to consumers.”
Ranking Member Waters was joined by 40 current and former Members of Congress in supporting the Consumer Bureau in PHH Corp. v. CFPB, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), former Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), former Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC), former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), former Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), former Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), former Sen. Tom Harking (D-IA), and former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-DE).
The brief highlights three main points:
- Congress has constitutional authority to shape the structure of the executive branch;
- Congress made a considered decision when it created an independent Consumer Bureau led by a single director to promote swift and decisive action to protect consumers;
- The text and history of the Constitution, along with decades of Supreme Court precedent, make clear that the Consumer Bureau’s leadership structure is constitutional.
The Consumer Bureau has a proven track record of protecting hardworking American consumers from predatory practices. Since the Consumer Bureau was established, it has implemented new rules for mortgage markets and prepaid cards, released comprehensive studies on credit reporting, and successfully recovered nearly $12 billion for 29 million consumers harmed by predatory and illegal financial practices, including a record $100 million fine on Wells Fargo for creating fake accounts for its customers. The Consumer Bureau has established a transparent and robust consumer complaint mechanism, which has received over 1 million complaints, and to date, an impressive 97 percent of the complaints that were sent to companies for review have received timely responses.