144 Current and Former Members File Amicus Brief Supporting CFPB in SCOTUS Case
Earlier this month, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC), and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, led 144 current and former Members of Congress in filing an amicus brief defending the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Community Financial Services Association of America, which the Supreme Court is set to hear in its next term. The case seeks to challenge the constitutionality of the CFPB and weaken its regulatory authority.
“As the United States explains, accepting the Fifth Circuit’s decision would place at risk a funding model that has been used since the early Republic, which now applies to the OCC and a host of other crucial federal programs,” the lawmakers wrote. “Armed with its assessment of what went wrong in the financial crisis, Congress determined that to be effective, the CFPB needed independence from unpredictable annual funding cycles.”
The lawmakers argued that Congress has always used its appropriations powers in different ways, up until the Fifth Circuit decision. To continue its work of preventing national economic crises as well as protecting consumers, the lawmakers urged the court to reaffirm that the CFPB must maintain its independent funding.
The CFPB is funded through the Federal Reserve System, as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. Since Congress still holds oversight authority of the agency, the CFPB regularly testifies before Congress and provides information on its programs. If the Supreme Court rules that the Bureau’s funding mechanism is, in fact, unconstitutional, then it will almost certainly face major changes, including the possibility of coming under the Congressional appropriations process.