Mick Mulvaney formally asks Congress to neuter the consumer financial protection agency he heads

Mick Mulvaney.
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Mick Mulvaney, President Trump's budget director, asked Congress on Monday to weaken the power and independence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the consumer watchdog he temporarily heads as his second job. "The bureau is far too powerful, with precious little oversight of its activities," Mulvaney said in a note accompanying a 56-page report to Congress, his first as acting CFPB director. Among his suggestions were requiring that all significant rules be approved by Congress, allowing the president to fire the CFPB director for any reason not just specific and justifiable cause, and taking away the bureau's independent funding from the Federal Reserve and handing it to Congress.

"The power wielded by the director of the bureau could all too easily be used to harm consumers, destroy businesses, or arbitrarily remake American financial markets," Mulvaney said. Banking lobbyists cheered his suggestions, but consumer advocates frowned. Mulvaney's changes "would stab a knife through the heart of the CFPB's mandate to protect consumers from financial industry abuses," said Public Citizen's Lisa Gilbert. Ed Ed Mierzwinski at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group said that Mulvaney had already "made it clear" he wants "a weak agency that payday lenders and Wall Street can run roughshod over."

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.