Federal Budget Cuts Would Hit Consumer Protection Agencies
December 10, 2012
The automatic spending cuts connected to the so-called fiscal cliff would remove about $69 million total from the annual budgets of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Trade Commission. If Congress and the president cannot reach a compromise, across-the-board federal spending reductions of $109 billion will take effect on Jan. 2. Consumer advocates warn that this "sequestration" would weaken the watchdog agencies and make Americans vulnerable to scams and sketchy business practices. The CFPB is the newest of these three agencies, created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 to have oversight and regulatory powers over mortgages, credit reporting, debt collection, and payday loans. It would lose about $34 million as a result of sequestration. "The CFPB may weather the storm better than the others only because it is still ramping up to full size and may be more flexible in its choices on how to take the cut," speculated Ed Mierzwinski of the U.S. PIRG, "although obviously some consumer protection will be delayed."
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