GOP seeks to rein in Obama's finance bureau

President Obama's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a major target of Republicans this fall. 

The House Financial Services Committee this week advanced two bills reforming the consumer agency, which opened in 2011. Republicans say that the measures would improve the accountability of the agency, by giving it a dedicated inspector general and replacing its single director with a five-member commission made up of members appointed by both parties. 

Liberals, however, view those measures as efforts to clip the wings of the bureau, which was structured to be free of some of the restraints that they say slow down other agencies and expose them to the influence of lobbyists. 

The bureau's defenders at Americans for Financial Reform, a group that favors tighter regulation on finance, point to the $11 billion that the agency has recouped from financial firms for 25 million people as evidence that its structure is correct. "That record of accomplishment is precisely what makes this agency, as presently constituted, so objectionable to so many bankers, lenders and ideological opponents of the whole idea of regulation," the group said.

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