Last week, 50 Senators joined Vice President Mike Pence to kill one of the most important advances in consumer rights in years.
By casting the tie-breaking vote to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule – which allowed consumers to band together to sue banks, financial institutions and credit card companies – Pence showed just how much power Wall Street has amassed on Capitol Hill and on Pennsylvania Avenue. It also unmasked the alarmingly cozy relationship between GOP leaders and the bank executives who defrauded millions of consumers and exposed their most important information to Equifax hackers.
As I told one reporter , “This was the Wells Fargo Immunity Act.”
Public Justice was proud to be a leading voice in the effort to defend the CFPB rule and help consumers fight back against the big banks that defraud their own customers. But make no mistake: This vote was a big setback for consumer protection, but it did not kill the resolve of those of us who will continue to fight alongside the CFPB in order to give Americans their day in court.
Now that consumers have learned what’s at stake, there’s going to be more pressure from constituents for lawmakers to stop the kinds of behavior we’ve seen from Wells Fargo and Equifax, among others. This vote, though heartbreaking for those of us who believe in protecting the little guy, may well turn out to be a huge catalyst for future change.
With your help, we will keep fighting to keep the courthouse doors open.
This blog was originally published at Public Justice on October 30, 2017. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Paul Bland has been a senior attorney at Public Justice since 1997. As Executive Director, Paul manages and leads Public Justice’s legal and foundation staff, guiding the organization’s litigation docket and other advocacy.