Reforming the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) to be accountable to the Congressional budget process would reduce federal deficits by $24 billion over the next decade, according to an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The Financial Choice Act, which was approved by the House Committee on Financial Services and awaits a floor vote, would change key structures of the CFPB.
Currently, the agency pulls its operating expenses directly from the Federal Reserve. The Choice Act would reduce the agency’s budget to $485 million in 2018, compared to the $565 million the agency drew in 2016.
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a proponent of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act which created the CFPB, has called the Choice Act “immoral,” and allows banks “to go back to cheating people.”
A big portion of the savings to taxpayers in the Choice Act is from one of CFPB’s activities called the Orderly Liquidation Fund, which takes over non-bank financial firms deemed important to the economy that risk of default. The CFPB places the firm in a receivership, which “develops a plan for dealing with the firm’s problems,” and provides taxpayer funds “to keep the firm from collapsing,” according to Reuters.
Critics of the CFPB have long called this type of assistance taxpayer bailouts. The CBO says that it’s difficult to predict when a financial firm might need a bailout, but in the event orderly liquidation is triggered, the taxpayer outlays would be large, and if it’s triggered under the next decade, it would likely “increase the deficit by $15.5 billion.”
The Choice Act would stop the orderly liquidation process. “The Financial Choice Act ends bank bailouts forever, holds Wall Street and Washington accountable, unleashes America’s economic potential and reduces the deficit by billions,” Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the Financial Services Committee, said following CBO’s report.
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