Impact of House Vote to Rescind CFPB Indirect Auto Guidance Remains Unclear

Joseph Lawler reports in the Washington Examiner. Excerpt:

[T]he resolution passed Tuesday raises a tricky legal question regarding what it means for Congress to disapprove of informal guidance that an agency sends to businesses. When Congress disapproves of a rule enforced by an agency, the meaning is clear: The agency is not allowed to enforce the rule any more. But when it disapproves of guidance relating to an underlying law, the intent is murkier.

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“In the longer term, if the bureau gets leadership that wants to enforce the underlying law, I still doubt that it changes enforcement because the CRA does not say anything about enforcement,” noted Jeff Sovern, a law professor at St. John’s University, “but rather only prohibits disapproved rules from taking effect and bars the agency from issuing rules that are substantially the same.”

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Christopher Willis, a partner with the [Ballard Spahr] firm, argued that congressional disapproval meant that Congress has ruled out the legal theory the CFPB was using — that lenders could be held liable for loans arranged by auto dealers for which minorities were thought to be disproportionately overcharged.

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“The disapproval has to mean something,” he added.

The president is expected to sign the resolution.

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