Yesterday, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Elizabeth Warren to discuss the negative impact on consumers if Republicans overturn the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule to prohibit forced arbitration. Her remarks are below:
Thank you so very much, Leader Pelosi. I am so delighted to be here with Nancy Pelosi, the first woman speaker of the United States Congress in the history of the Unites States Congress, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is a leader that helped to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and is the leader who is constantly speaking out on behalf of consumers, helping people to understand what we can do to give consumers a fair chance in our society, to have a good quality of life, and not to be ripped off by those who are in power and are in high places. And so, I’m here this morning to call out yet another shameful Republican effort to take away important consumer protections.
Earlier this month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a final rule banning forced arbitration clauses in contracts for consumer financial products. The rule ensures that consumers are not required to sign away their legal rights in order to open a bank account, obtain a credit card, finance a car, or obtain a private student loan. The rule is very important because consumers who are cheated by financial institutions and who are then forced into closed-door arbitration receive more compensation than they would’ve received if they had had the opportunity to have their day in court.
Forced arbitration benefits large corporations and Wall Street banks to the detriment of consumers. For example, Wells Fargo continues to use forced arbitration to prevent consumers from pursuing class action lawsuits against the bank for opening millions of fraudulent accounts using their personal information.
The Joint Resolution the Republicans have put forth uses the Congressional Review Act to senselessly repeal the Consumer Bureau’s important new rule. This is outrageous and unacceptable. Unfortunately, it is just the latest in a wave of Republican attacks on financial regulation and consumer protection. In June, House Republicans passed what I call the “Wrong Choice Act,” a bill to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Now, they are moving to snatch away legal rights from consumers.
I, and other Democrats are determined to continue to fight against these harmful efforts, and stand up for Main Street.