Republican Ranking Members on House Oversight and Financial Services Committees Press CFPB Director to Justify His Authority

Sep 26, 2022Congressional Legislation, News

In a letter sent last week by Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and James Comer (R-Ky.) to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra, the pair of Republican congressmen demanded that Chopra “provide Congress with the clear authorities delegated to the CFPB that justify its current and upcoming actions.” McHenry is the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee and Comer is the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

The two members of congress argued that the recent Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v. EPA clarified the limitations of certain agency action when it said that an agency must point to “clear congressional authorization for the authority it claims.”

“To be clear, ‘the Constitution does not authorize agencies to use pen-and-phone regulations as substitutes for laws passed by the people’s representatives,’” the congressmen write. “In the United States, it is the ‘peculiar province of the legislature to prescribe general rules for the government of society.’”

The representatives then outline a number of initiatives undertaken during Chopra’s tenure that they claim circumvent Congressional intent and the Administrative Procedure Act, including interpretive rules expanding the authority of states to enforce the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 and limiting the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s preemption authority, as well as advisory opinions expanding Equal Credit Opportunity (Regulation B) and narrowly interpreting the Fair Credit Reporting Act with respect to name-only matching procedures.

“The House Committees for Financial Services and Oversight and Reform intend to exercise robust investigative and legislative powers to not only forcefully reassert our Article I responsibilities, but to ensure that neither you nor the Biden administration can continue to exceed Congressional authorizations,” they wrote.

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