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From Banking and Finance Law Daily, February 12, 2018

Trump budget for 2019 would overhaul CFPB

By Stephanie K. Mann, J.D.

The White House has released its proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year. Among other things, the budget proposes to restructure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, limit the agency’s mandatory funding, and provide discretionary appropriations to fund the Bureau beginning in 2020.

According to the Major Savings and Reforms document published with the budget, the Trump Administration stated that the proposed reforms would impose financial discipline, reduce wasteful spending, and ensure appropriate congressional oversight by subjecting the agency to discretionary appropriations starting in 2020. In addition, the proposed budget would cap transfers by the Federal Reserve Board to CFPB during 2019 to $485 million and limit the CFPB’s "broad" enforcement authority over federal consumer law. "These changes would allow CFPB to focus its efforts on enforcing enacted consumer protection laws and eliminate the functions that allowed the Agency to become an unaccountable bureaucracy with unchecked regulatory authority."

Proposed budget. Additional proposals that would have an effect on the financial sector include:

  • The Trump Administration would limit the "regulatory excesses" mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, namely the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Office of Financial Research. The proposal would "impose appropriate" congressional oversight by subjecting all activities to the normal appropriations process.
  • The proposed budget eliminates funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund’s discretionary grant and direct loan programs. However, the budget would maintain funding for administrative expenses to support ongoing CDFI Fund program activities, including the New Markets Tax Credit program. The Budget also proposes to extend the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program, which offers CDFIs low-cost, long-term financing at no cost to taxpayers, as the program requires no credit subsidy.
  • The budget would reduce funding for the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program commensurate with the wind-down of TARP programs. According to the Administration, Congress aligned the sunset of SIGTARP with the length of time that TARP funds or commitments are outstanding. Treasury currently estimates that all programs will substantially close by 2023.
  • The Budget prioritizes safeguarding markets and protecting financial data by requesting $159 million for Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to continue its critical work safeguarding the financial system from abuse and combatting other national security threats using non-kinetic economic tools. These additional resources would be used to economically isolate North Korea, complete the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center in Saudi Arabia, and increase sanctions pressure on Iran, including through the implementation of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

The White House also issued its Analytical Perspectives, which contains analyses that are designed to highlight specified subject areas or provide other significant presentations of budget data that place the budget in perspective.

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