The Supreme Court Has Allowed the CFPB to Stand. How Might the GOP Rein in This Rogue Agency?

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Government overreach and government waste have been around as long as there has been government. In fact, it is inevitable that government, in any form, grows ever larger and more intrusive over time; this is a fundamental law of the universe, which shall be known henceforth as Clark's Law of Progressive Government Bloat (CLPGB).

One particularly egregious example of government being both overreaching and wasteful is the brainchild (and I use the term "brain" in the broadest possible sense) of Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB.) As of last week, the CFPB survived a major challenge when the Supreme Court allowed it to keep its over-regulating doors open, as my colleague Joe Cunningham reported:

Previously on RedState: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Lives Another Day, SCOTUS Rules

So, we may very well ask: What now? Well, some members of Congress have some thoughts on that.

Representative Andy Barr (R-KY) is pushing the CFPB Transparency and Accountability Reform Act, HR 2798. This bill fiddles with the structure of the CFPB but does not eliminate it, as does Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer's Consumer Financial Protection Commission Act, HR 1411. This strikes me as a lot like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, but it's a step in the right direction, at least.

Andy Barr has also introduced HR 1382, the TABS Act:

This bill restructures the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and renames it as the Consumer Financial Empowerment Agency. The new agency is established as an independent agency outside of the Federal Reserve System.

The bill also changes the funding structure of the agency by prohibiting the transfer of funds to the agency from the Federal Reserve System and by authorizing appropriations for FY2024-2025.

Again, rearranging those deck chairs.

The Supreme Court's decision was based on the Appropriations Clause, in an attempt to defund the Bureau by removing its Constitutional authorization for funding, but no less a conservative mind than Clarence Thomas struck that hope down:

The Bureau does not have to petition for funds each year. Instead, Congress authorized the Bureau to draw from the Federal Reserve System the amount its Director deems “reasonably necessary to carry out” the Bureau’s duties, subject only to an inflation-adjusted cap. 124Stat. 1975, 12 U. S. C. §§5497(a)(1), (2). In this case, we must decide the narrow question whether this funding mechanism complies with the Appropriations Clause. We hold that it does.

So the CFPB will continue interfering in the legitimate economic decisions of Americans.

See Related: CFPB's Activist Regulators Are at It Again

Other bills to rearrange those desk chairs include HR2489, by Tom Emmer (R-MN), HR1313, by Alexander Mooney (R-WV), HR1749, by Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI), and last year's HR2490, also by Emmer.

Granted, that's a lot to wade through, but there's a common thread in all those proposed bills, none of which are likely to go anywhere; none of them just outright repeal the CFPB. As it happens, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) have the best idea: Abolishment by statute. The two have introduced bills to completely repeal and remove the CFPB; you can read the Cruz bill here, and the Donalds bill here. This, now, this is the way. We need to apply this to more intrusive, overreaching government bureaus.

But then, we run back into Clark's Law of Progressive Government Bloat. Like TANSTAAFL, this will not be denied; nothing approaches so close to immortality as a government agency or program.

Barring some overwhelming takeover of Congress and the Executive Branch by actual small-government conservatives and libertarians, it's looking like we're stuck with the CFPB and all of its overweening and intrusive activities, along with all of the other overweening and intrusive government bureaus and agencies. But the fight is still worth fighting, if for no other reason than to keep the inevitable expansion to a halfway sane level.


Trending on RedState Videos