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Georgia Senator: CFPB is a 'rogue agency'

Erin Fuchs
Deputy Managing Editor

David Perdue, the junior Republican Senator from Georgia, appeared at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit (AMS) on Thursday and railed against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

”The CFPB is a rogue agency that does not have any oversight here in Congress,” said Perdue, a former businessman and CEO of Reebok and Dollar General Stores (DG), who was interviewed remotely at AMS.

The CFPB — created as part of the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul known as Dodd-Frank — enforces protections for consumers primarily in the areas of student loans, mortgages and credit cards. The agency has also taken aim at for-profit colleges.

Perdue and other Republicans have attacked the CFPB for supposedly being too powerful and argue that its single director has too much unchecked sovereignty. Since Trump’s election, Republicans have moved to chip away at that authority.

Last week, Perdue was one of several lawmakers to introduce a bill to stop the agency from implementing a rule that provides protections for consumers of pre-paid accounts. The lawmakers said the rule would “stifle growth” in the electronic payment marketplace.

“If the CFPB wants to continue to impose rules and regulations that impact every American’s financial well-being, it must answer to the American people,” Perdue said in a statement after the bill was introduced.

The CFPB is not the only part of Dodd-Frank that Perdue would like to do away with. When speaking to Yahoo Finance on Wednesday, Perdue said he’d like to get rid of minimum capital reserve requirements for smaller, regional banks, which he argued stem the flow of money to small businesses. Referring to the entirety of Dodd-Frank, Perdue said, “This thing has got to get fixed and fixed now.”

Trump is also on board with chipping away at Dodd-Frank. The president has already signed an order that would begin the process for doing away with the so-called fiduciary rule, which mandates that brokers act in the interest of their clients. Trump also signed an order asking the Treasury to review Dodd-Frank rules, but Congress must act to actually change the law.

Asked if Congress could do away with Dodd-Frank this year, Perdue said, “Clearly this year we hope to get to some pieces of Dodd-Frank.”

Dodd-Frank is not the only item on Perdue’s agenda this year. Just this week, Perdue introduced legislation to pare back legal immigration, cut the number of refugees allowed in the US by half, and eliminate the lottery system for Green cards. Perdue says the plan would cut immigration levels to 637,960, significantly lower than 2015 levels of 1,051,031.

When speaking to Yahoo Finance on Wednesday, Perdue contended that relatively few immigrants are skilled workers and noted that “our legal immigration is more than double the historical norms of just a few years ago.”

One item that’s not on Perdue’s to-do list this year: pushing for a so-called border adjustment tax (BAT), which effectively penalizes imports and incentivizes exports. Other Republicans have been pushing for a BAT, which would allow corporations to deduct exports as business expenses but would tax imports at 20%.

The BAT tax will come at the expense of companies that rely heavily on imported goods, like the tech and auto industries. But big exporters like defense companies could stand to gain from BAT.

Perdue has rejected the BAT and asserted on Wednesday that it’s a regressive “tax grab” that “hammers” lower-income consumers. “This is the last thing we need to do,” Perdue said.

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