Mulvaney Gives Congress Advice on Stripping Away His CFPB Powers

(Bloomberg) -- Mick Mulvaney has long complained that the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has too much authority over banks. More than four months into his stint running the watchdog, he’s offering lawmakers specific advice on how they should start stripping those powers away.

In the CFPB’s semi-annual report to Congress released Monday, Mulvaney reiterated suggestions that have been at the top of Republican wish lists for years. He wants lawmakers to pass legislation requiring that the CFPB get its funding through congressional appropriations rather than from the Federal Reserve as it does now. He also urged Congress to make clear that the agency’s director is directly accountable to the president, and said lawmakers should have power to block its regulations.

Mulvaney, who remains President Donald Trump’s budget director, will make his first appearance before Congress next week in his role as acting chief of the CFPB. Since taking over the agency in November, the former Republican congressman has vowed to dial back the aggressive stance pursued by Richard Cordray, the Obama administration appointee who ran the watchdog from 2012 to 2017.

But even with Republicans in control of Congress, it will be difficult to make big changes to the CFPB’s structure. The GOP holds a slim majority in the Senate, and few if any Democrats would likely back revamping a regulator that they consider central to preventing the kind of abuses that triggered the 2008 financial crisis.

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