Republican House bill curbs budget for banking watchdog

The Republican-controlled House has passed legislation curbing the growth of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency established by the 2010 overhaul of financial regulations to enforce laws aimed at protecting consumers from unfair or illegal practices by banks, mortgage lenders and other financial services providers.

The measure would cap the agency’s budget at $655 million in 2020 and $720 million in 2025. This year’s budget is $582 million.

The budget cap was added to a separate bipartisan bill to give small businesses a greater voice in influencing the bureau’s decisions. That separate bill, written by Congressman Robert Pittenger, a Charlotte Republican, creates a small business advisory board to counsel CFPB regulators on issues facing small businesses.

“This bipartisan legislation will give small businesses, credit unions, and community banks a voice in proposed regulations, allowing for adjustments that protect consumers while giving small businesses the freedom to grow and create good paying jobs,” Pittenger said in a statement.

The 235-183 vote fell well short of the two-thirds margin required to overcome a White House veto threat.

The White House said the budget curbs could undermine “critical protections for families from abusive and predatory financial products.”