Will the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau be the first big fight between President Trump, who campaigned as a populist, and the conservative old-guard in the legislature? If it does, the only person who can help him navigate that unknown territory is the woman he called “Pocahontas.”
Before becoming a Senator from Massachusetts and hypothetical Democratic candidate for president, Elizabeth Warren was the scholar who helped create the CFPB after it was authorized in the Dodd-Frank Act. The agency protects consumers from credit card companies and other ways that “Wall Street” tries to screw over “Main Street.”
At a recent meeting with Warren and the members of the agency, she “offered a sobering description of the uncertainties that lay ahead for the young agency with Republicans in control of both the White House and Congress,” according to Bloomberg.
She reportedly vowed to do all she could to prevent Republicans in Congress from undermining or even dismantling the agency. Yet, conservative and pro-financial sector legislators want to see the agency crippled.
From the Huffington Post:
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), formerly chairman of the Banking Committee, told HuffPost he wanted to see the agency eliminated. “My top priority is either to bring the consumer agency under appropriations” ― which would give Congress the power to shrink its budget, or bar it from spending money on certain activities ― “or abolish it. But we’ll see what we can do,” he said. “I think it’s been a nightmare, to a lot of businesses, small business. Unbridled power, arrogance.”
This will be the first test of Donald Trump’s populism versus party loyalty. Trump’s transition team told The Wall Street Journal that they plan to “dismantle” the Dodd-Frank Act, which includes the CFPB. However, as evidenced by his comments on Obamacare, Trump the president is different than Trump the candidate in that he says, essentially, he’ll keep “the good stuff.”
From a separate Journal report:
“We have gone from DEFCON Two to DEFCON One,” said Ed Mierzwinski,consumer program director at the Federation of State Public Interest Groups, comparing the situation to the most severe military emergency status. “This is a battle.” The consumer advocacy group plans to hire more staff and schedule frequent visits to Republican-controlled states to urge community groups and journalists to help protect the CFPB.
The CFPB, especially if fairly represented, will likely be the sort of government program that Trump’s supporters would actually like to see more of and not less. If they are concerned about a lack of economic security, they’ve likely relied on credit and don’t think those companies are over-regulated.
What do you think? Should the CFPB be dismantled? Do you think it’s a good agency? Share your thoughts and reactions in the comments below.
Featured image via screengrab