Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Call your Senators to support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Less than one year after Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall St. reform and consumer protection law, the U.S. Senate is poised this week to consider two amendments to the Economic Development Revitalization Act (S. 782) that could deal a crippling blow to financial reform.  Concerned consumers need to tell our Senators that banking reform, and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, need to be implemented not undermined.
An amendment sponsored by Kansas Rep. Sen. Jerry Moran would gut the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before it even begins its work by eliminating its independent leadership and funding basis. It would replace the agency’s independent director with a six-member board dominated by many of the same regulatory agencies that failed to protect consumers during the recent financial crisis and  give the same Congress where many Republicans strongly oppose the very existence of the agency complete control of its funding.
The Dodd-Frank law carefully designed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to give it enough protection from political pressure from the financial services industry that it would be able to stand up for consumers while making it fully accountable to the president and the American people. The Moran amendment would destroy that balance. 
But South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint’s amendment goes even further: It would repeal the entire Wall St. Reform Act, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the derivatives trading reforms and other reforms Congress belatedly passed in 2010 to protect consumers from the kind of abuses that caused the devastating financial collapse of 2008.
Over the last four years, more than 10 million Americans have lost their homes to foreclosures. Almost 14 million people are officially unemployed today, and millions more have given up hope and stopped  looking for work. As the nation struggles to emerge from the hardest economic times in 70 years, we need strong protections against the kind of predatory financial practices that did so much to cause the crisis.
In May, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives passed three amendments that would badly weaken financial reform and the new CFPB. Now the Senate needs to stand up for U.S. consumers.
Please call Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s office at 202.224.4654 and Sen. Ben Cardin’s office at 202.224.4524 to tell Maryland’s Senators that they need to make Wall St. reform work and to defend the new agency whose job is to defend the interests of consumers. 

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