It has been a busy day for debate over the Consumer Financial Protection Agency ("CFPA"). Elizabeth Warren recently gave an interview to the Huffington Post in which she stated that she is gearing up for a fight on the Senate floor:
"My first choice is a strong consumer agency," the Harvard Law professor and federal bailout watchdog said in an interview with the Huffington Post. "My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor."
She believes that any CFPA, in order to be effective, must have four main components:
- A chief appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate;
- Independent budget authority, so it won't be subject to the whims of Congress or an anti-consumer administration;
- Independent rule-making authority, without interference by bank regulators or others who may focus on bank profitability before focusing on consumers;
- And independent enforcement powers, so the agency's investigators can go after abusive lenders
While the President and Congress are currently engulfed in the health care debate, the debate over the CFPA is just beginning to boil. It will be interesting to see how hard the President pushes the CFPA, and it may depend on how successful he is with health care.