WASHINGTON Nov 29 The U.S. lawmakers who helped
bring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into being rose
to defend it on Tuesday, urging the full U.S. Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia to review a ruling that poses an
existential threat to the agency.
In an amicus brief, 21 current and former members of
Congress said the whole court should review a decision reached
by three of its judges in October that the CFPB's sole director
has too much power and that the President should have power to
fire the director.
Earlier this month the CFPB asked the full court to review
the decision, in a lawsuit involving PHH Corp. The
decision was stayed pending appeal.
In their brief the lawmakers said the decision will hamper
the agency's ability to function as Congress intended, create
constitutional confusion for other agencies with single
directors, and go against legal precedent.
An agency to protect consumers from bad loans and financial
products was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, now a
Massachusetts Senator. It was created through the 2010
Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law passed in the wake of the
massive financial crisis that was fueled by defaulting
Warren signed the brief alongside one of the law's chief
authors, former Representative Barney Frank. Both figures are
Democrats and the other signatories also belong to the party,
including California Representative Nancy Pelosi, who leads the
Ten consumer protection and civil rights non-profit
organizations, including Americans for Financial Reform and the
National Consumer Law Center, also filed a brief supporting the
It is rare for lawmakers to enter a legal fray, although
Frank signed a similar brief in a court challenge to the
Financial Stability Oversight Council, which was also created in
the Dodd-Frank law.
"Congress carefully designed the CFPB to elevate the
interests of consumers above those of a well-heeled industry and
provided for a single director removable for cause to ensure
accountability and effectiveness," Pelosi said in a statement
after the brief was filed. "Under the Constitution, Congress has
considerable latitude to shape the structure of independent
Republicans say that the agency should be governed by a
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Chris Reese)