In petitions delivered on March 17th to all 535 members of the new Congress, more than 274,000 Americans sound the alarm against continued efforts to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 to bring basic standards of transparency and fairness to the banking and lending markets
The petition signatures were gathered by CREDO Action, Senator Jeff Merkley, Other 98%, National People’s Action, Americans for Financial Reform, Color of Change, National Council of La Raza, and Public Citizen.
“Republican efforts to undermine the CFPB are a transparent giveaway to the very same big banks that wrecked our economy,” said Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director at CREDO Action. “Democrats must reject and publicly denounce any attempt to make it easier for corporations to scam Americans by undermining the CFPB.”
“The CFPB is the only agency solely dedicated to protecting consumers, students, older Americans and service members from predatory financial products and behavior,” said Alexis Goldstein, communications director for Other98.org. “The over 270,000 signatures show Congress how important Americans think it is to protect the independent structure and funding of the CFPB.”
In the new Congress, some members have picked up where they left off last year by advancing proposals to defund or defang the Bureau or its rules. Just last week, Representative Randy Neugebauer (R-Tex.), with 20 cosponsors, introduced a bill to replace the Bureau’s single director with a politically appointed five-member commission. This is an idea backed by an array of financial industry trade groups and strongly opposed by every major consumer organization as a recipe for regulatory gridlock and ineffectuality.
In the Senate, the new Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is on record saying that “if I had my way, we wouldn’t have the agency at all.” The new chairman of the Senate banking committee, Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) recently vowed to do “everything I can” to “modify” Dodd-Frank, since he doesn’t think he can actually repeal it, “which I’d like.”
At the same time, many House members and Senators have expressed a renewed commitment to the defense of the CFPB and Dodd-Frank, while President Obama, in his State of the Union message, signaled his readiness to veto any efforts to unravel “the new rules on Wall Street.”
“The 2008 crisis taught us that predatory financial practices that cheat consumers can wreak havoc on our economy,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “As the agency charged with preventing consumer ripoffs and thwarting reckless lending practices, lawmakers should fully support the CFPB, not use gutting it as a ploy to please Wall Street.”
“Together with our allies, we fought hard for the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect Americans from the reckless and predatory financial practices that crashed our economy,” said George Goehl, Executive Director of National People’s Action. “Now the CFPB is working hard to protect our communities and our economy. Americans strongly support the mission of the CFPB and it’s vital that our members of congress do as well.”
View the Other 98%’s version of the petition here.