AFR Statement Subcommittee Markup of FY 2012 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill

June 16, 2011

John Carey at 202-466-1854

AFR Statement on Subcommittee Markup of FY 2012 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill

Washington, DC
– Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition of more than 250 national and state organizations working together for strong Wall Street reform, issued the following statement today:

The House will stop at nothing to kill the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), including changing the law through the budget process. This Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bill attempts to assert appropriations authority over the CFPB and then make critical cuts to the independent funding for the CFPB. This bill would inflict a devastating blow to efforts in the Dodd-Frank Act to overhaul a federal financial regulatory structure that failed so spectacularly to protect consumers and the economy.

When Congress established the landmark agency, as part of its efforts to restore the economy wrecked by predatory Wall Street practices, its clear intention was to insulate the CFPB from efforts by the big banks to cut its funding and weaken its authority. Subjecting the CFPB to appropriations will increase taxpayer costs and allow big banks to thwart funding.  Under existing law the CFPB, like all of the other bank regulators, is not subject to the appropriations process. However, unlike other banking agencies, which can set their own budgets, the CFPB’s budget is already capped at a maximum amount by law.

This bill would allow Wall Street to run wild over consumers – and taxpayers – all over again by prohibiting the Federal Reserve from transferring more than $200 million in fiscal year 2012 to the CFPB, almost 50 percent cut in the Bureau’s proposed $329 million budget next year.  This cut would cripple the agency’s ability to protect American’s from financial tricks and traps, just as the CFPB is about to open its doors. It would also prohibit the Federal Reserve from transferring any funds to the bureau beginning in fiscal 2013, after which the CFPB would be subject to the appropriations process.

By slashing funding for the CFPB and requiring that taxpayers fund the CFPB through appropriations, this legislation would simultaneously hobble the CFPB and saddle Americans with the cost of funding the agency.  Once again, House leaders seem intent on guaranteeing that the CFPB will be a weak and timid agency, without the will or ability to curb the kind of financial abuses that caused the nation’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.