GOP: Repeal Consumer Bureau?

Flickr/<a href="">New America Foundation</a>

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Add this name to the GOP’s wish list of Democratic legislation targeted for rollback or repeal if John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the rest win back the House, Senate, or both: the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

On the heels of consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren’s nomination to get the consumer bureau up and running, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said yesterday he’d “revisit” the financial regulatory reform bill passed by Congress in July if Republicans wrest back control of Congress after November’s midterm elections. A powerful conservative voice on financial issues, Shelby set his sights on the consumer bureau, an organization he’s long opposed. He said at a Reuters conference that the “consumer agency bothers me most.” He added, “I thought the creation of it and the way it was created was a mistake.”

This isn’t the first time Republicans have threatened to uproot already-passed legislation. For months, the party has said it plans to attack Democrats’ historic health care reform bill, attacking various pieces if they can’t repeal it outright. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), for instance, has offered a new law that would nullify the requirement in the bill that employers offer health insurance to workers or pay a penalty, a centerpiece mandate in the law. GOPers also want to reverse cuts made to Medicare and blunt the effect of a new agency that would identify cost-cutting opportunities within Medicare.

So it’s not at all surprising Republicans are going after Obama’s other major legislative accomplishment. For them, the creation of the consumer bureau, an independently funded outfit housed within the Federal Reserve, was bad enough; appointing Warren, a polarizing figure disliked by the financial services industry, only deepened the opposition. Said Shelby, “I believe she’s got a big ax to grind and she’s sharpening that ax. I don’t think that you need somebody in a position like that with all these preconceived ideas and I believe she has a lot of them.”

All of the GOP’s bluster is, for now, just that. But if they really do intend to chip away at the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, it will be an exercise in sheer hypocrisy (not that that’s unheard of in either party). After all, Republicans consider themselves the party of the people, looking out for the ordinary Joe. Well, that’s exactly who the consumer bureau was created to protect, cracking down on predatory mortgage lenders, check cashers, and more.

What’s more, GOPers have complained that the uncertainty surrounding the financial reform bill’s passage and implementation is a cause for the economy’s sluggish recovery. Employers don’t know how the dust will settle, the thinking goes, so they’re sitting on cash and not hiring. By that logic, trying to repeal or roll back the bill will only extend that uncertainty—and this time, Republicans will only have themselves to blame.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend