Two Republican senators sent a letter to Vice President-elect Mike Pence calling for the removal of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray.
Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Mike Lee, R- Utah, argued in a three-page letter dated Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump has the legal authority to remove Cordray.
"We write to request that promptly after his inauguration, President Trump remove Richard Cordray from his position as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," the senators wrote.
"Removing Director Cordray would also uphold the American idea of limited government, because Director Cordray has vigorously supported the unconstitutional independence of the CFPB and pursued a regulatory agenda that is harmful to the American people."
The letter said that over the last 80 years, the federal government has "blurred the lines" between the executive branch and Congress by delegating lawmaking authority to agencies, "including a 'headless fourth branch' of independent agencies unaccountable to the public or the president."
"The CFPB is the single-most egregious example of this practice," the senators said in the letter, which did not name other independent agencies.
The senators cited a court case, PHH Corp. v. CFPB, and a November ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit that found the CFPB's structure is unconstitutional. Though that ruling is being appealed by the CFPB, the senators allege that Cordray can be removed immediately.
However, legal experts have noted that if the full D.C. Circuit agrees to hear an appeal, the panel’s ruling is voided.
"Despite this appeal, the president retains constitutional authority to remove the director until a valid court order says otherwise," the senators wrote.
The letter stated that Cordray has pursued "costly regulatory policies that are radically opposed to the Trump Administration's pro-growth agenda."
"Under Director Cordray's disastrous tenure, the CFPB has repeatedly advanced 'unnecessary regulations that kill jobs,' 'bloat government' and have an enormous impact on our economy, communities and individual Americans from coast to coast," the letter says.
The senators also wrote that the CFPB's regulations have disproportionately burdened credit unions and community banks. The letter said a new CFPB director could improve regulatory policy and restore the rule of law.
"Director Cordray's removal will be the first marker in the long process of rolling back an agency that combines the powers of the executive, legislative and judicial branches into the hands of a few unaccountable Washington elites," the senators said.