Trump and Republicans in Congress have prepared a plan to gut Sen. Elizabeth Warrenâ€™s consumer protection agency â€“ and corporate Democrats are already meeting with bankers to help them do it.
A number of Wall-Street-friendly Senate Democrats recently met with bank lobbyists about sabotaging the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), according to news reports.1 The meetings took place even as news broke of a detailed Republican plan to follow-up on Trumpâ€™s promises to erase rules on Wall Street and undermine the CFPB.2
Since it was created in 2011, the CFPB has returned roughly $11.8 billion to 29 million consumers. Thatâ€™s an average of $407 for the equivalent of 9 percent of the U.S. population.3 Yet, corporate Democrats are now teaming up with Trump to tear it to shreds. We canâ€™t let that happen.
Sen. Heidi Heitkampâ€™s office has admitted to meeting with bank lobbyists about the consumer protection agency. Sens. Jon Tester and Joe Manchin refused to comment. Manchin is a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, which makes his possible support for undermining one of the Democratic partyâ€™s greatest modern accomplishments absolutely unforgivable. One Democrat, Sen. Tom Carper, has gone as far as to publicly declare that he is interested in helping Republicans sabotage the CFPB by putting a commission in charge of it.4
Trump Republicans are trying to replace the CFPBâ€™s strong director with a commission that they could fill with right-wing hacks or leave empty to hamstring the agency completely. The Trump administration has even pondered firing CFPB Director Richard Cordray, even though his term does not end for years. Firing Cordray without due cause might be grounds for a lawsuit â€“ and, along with attacks on the CFPB, prove that Trump Republicans do not care about draining the swamp, only protecting their Wall Street pals.5
In just a few short years, the CFPB has reined in abuses by debt collectors, taken on for-profit colleges, protected home-buyers from unscrupulous lenders, investigated predatory private student loan companies, insisted on mortgage safeguards, recouped millions for military families who were overcharged or lost homes to foreclosure, unearthed the unethical practices of student debt collectors and shed light on dozens of predatory lending practices and consumer scams. And it only came into existence in 2011!6 There should be no question about whether Senate Democrats will mount a fierce and unanimous resistance to protect the agency that protects all of us.
The Republican attack plan mirrors past attempts to sabotage the CFPB. They want to defund it, eliminate a fund that the CFPB uses to reimburse victims of fraud and let other regulators that are friendlier to lenders overrule the agency. They want to place limits on what kind of data CFPB can collect, because too many people were sharing such heartbreaking stories of abuse and fraud. They want to do all that before taking out the agencyâ€™s leadership.7
We know that Sen. Warren will fight fiercely for her brainchild. But many other Senate Democrats are far more cozy with big banks â€“ and even eager to compromise with an authoritarian bigot who secured power without popular support. If Democrats stand united, they will protect millions of everyday Americans â€“ and draw a sharp contrast that will show which party is willing to fight for the middle class. If Democrats refuse to fight, they will do untold damage to people and party.
Tell Senate Democrats: Protect our consumer protection agency from Trump. Click below to sign the petition:
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Murshed Zaheed, Political Director
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- Ryan Rainey, â€ś,â€ť Morning Consult, Feb. 7, 2017.
- Renae Merle, â€ś,â€ť The Washington Post, Feb. 9, 2017.
- Lucinda Shen, â€ś,â€ť Fortune, Jan. 27, 2017.
- Rainey, â€ś.â€ť
- Lorraine Woellert and Josh Dawsey, â€ś,â€ť Politico, Feb. 6, 2017.
- Erika Eichelberger, â€ś,â€ť Mother Jones, Mar. 14, 2014.
- Merle, â€ś.â€ť