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Hensarling Takes Aim At Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

If Republicans take back the Senate, Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling hopes to use his power as Financial Services Committee chairman to roll back unnecessary regulations and government red tape.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a creation of the Dodd-Frank law, is high on his list.

The CFPB is “the single most unaccountable agency in the history of America” Rep. Hensarling told the Wall Street Journal in an interview, noting it is funded by the Federal Reserve, but is not accountable to Fed officials, congress, or a bipartisan commission. Only the president can remove its director, under certain conditions. Even the courts are required by the Supreme Court to defer to its judgments.

The CFPB, the brain child of Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, was established in 2012 as part of the controversial Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 with the stated mission to protect consumers and enforce consumer financial protection laws. (RELATED: Elizabeth Warren Slams Obama, Defends Dems)

But Americans don’t want or need all of the “protections” the CFPB is giving, Hensarling told the WSJ, noting one-third of all blacks and Hispanics will be “protected” right out of their homes once the bureau’s rules take full effect. “They’re less free and less prosperous,” he told the WSJ.

“In just three years, the CFPB has grown into an unaccountable federal leviathan of nearly 1,400 employees with over a half billion dollar budget and the unrestrained power to dictate which Americans can receive credit and which Americas cannot,”  Hensarling said at a full committee hearing on the CFPB in June.

If Republicans control the House and Senate next year, Rep. Hensarling will work to get a major reform of the bureau on the president’s desk. He told the WSJ he’s not opposed to the government policing financial markets via a centralized agency. “What is bad is giving an unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat the unilateral power to essentially decide what credit cards go in our wallets, what mortgages we can have on our homes, which is exactly what CFPB is doing,” he said.

In his first term as chairman, Hensarling has frustrated some House Republicans for refusing to compromise on some issues, reported the National Journal in September. “I would like to see him as more of a consensus builder,” a Republican member of the committee told the NJ.

But Rep. Hensarling maintains he’s taken a hard party line in the beginning to set up a favorable negotiating process down the road. “I play a long game,” he told the NJ.

Hensarling is a top candidate to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House, and has powerful allies in Rep. Paul Ryan, set to chair the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, set to chair the Senate Banking Committee if Republicans control the chamber.

“I frankly think he’s one of the few chairmen who is navigating and leveraging the negotiating process to his favor,” another Republican member of the committee told the NJ. “We haven’t seen the win yet, but I think you’ll see a lot of wins in the next Congress based off the work that Jeb has done.”

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