Ahead of the D.C. Circuit Court’s scheduled en banc rehearing on May 24th, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) submitted its brief in PHH v. CFPB to the court this week asking that the independent agency’s single director structure remain intact at least in some capacity. In its brief, the CFPB reaffirmed its position that its single director that can only be fired for cause is constitutional. However, if the en banc court goes with its previous decision that the agency’s structure violates the U.S Constitution, then the court should instead only sever the “for cause” provision, retaining agency authority under a single director serving at the leisure of the President.
The embattled consumer protection agency continues to fight for its relevancy and authority on all fronts. The Trump administration has all but abandoned the agency’s position in recent weeks by siding with PHH and agreeing with the previous D.C. Circuit ruling on the CFPB’s constitutionality. Congress is also in the process of rewriting the CFPB’s parent legislation, the Dodd-Frank Act. Massive changes to the agency’s structure, role, enforcement capacity and rulemaking ability are expected during this busy session of Congress. While the CFPB will likely survive in one form or another, it will possibly serve a very different function under the Trump Administration.