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House committee meeting takes aim at CFPB

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau came under fire at a House committee hearing on Wednesday, with Republicans charging that the agency is unaccountable and bound to be troublesome.

“We have a rogue director in charge of a runaway budget for an agency whose mission is still unclear. This is a recipe for disaster that will only hurt our economy,” Representative Francisco Canseco (R-Texas) said, according to MarketWatch. “While today’s hearing is important, we as Congress sit here powerless and only can listen to [CFPB Director Richard Cordray] as he lays out his priorities for how to spend money that could be used to reduce our national debt.”

The CFPB, established under the Dodd-Frank Act to provide an agency dedicated to consumer protection, has been in question by critics who claim that the bureau lacks oversight and the director’s power is limitless. Under Dodd-Frank, while Congress can examine the agency’s budget, it cannot control the budget.

The bureau launched using $123 million and, MarketWatch reports, estimates spending $356 million in 2012 and $448 million in 2013.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray has also taken heat, as critics claim his appointment to the position of director was unconstitutional. President Obama appointed Cordray to the position during a congressional pro forma session to overcome Republican opposition. Analysts say that the courts will likely find Cordray’s appointment to be unconstitutional.

“We continue to believe that the odds favor the courts voiding these recess appointments, though we believe the courts will let stand all the decisions Cordray made while he ran the CFPB,” Jaret Seiberg, a Guggenheim Securities analyst, said, according to MarketWatch.

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