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Senate Should Protect Consumer Rights, Vote No on S.J. Res. 47

Oct. 24, 2017

Senate Should Protect Consumer Rights, Vote No on S.J. Res. 47

Statements From Public Citizen Experts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen is calling on the U.S. Senate to vote no on S.J. Res. 47, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution repealing the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) arbitration rule. Public Citizen has led the fight to defend this rule, which restores consumers’ right to go to court to challenge rip-offs and scams by financial companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax. A vote is expected as soon as tonight.

“Tonight, senators must choose between big banks aiming to preserve their prerogative to rip off consumers and consumers who do not want to be ripped off – between corporate donors and constituents. The vote is as stark and simple as that. There is zero serious debate about the benefits of the CFPB rule for consumers, which is why every independent consumer organization supports it so forcefully. Senators who vote to overturn the rule will be making very clear that their loyalty and fealty runs to their Wall Street backers, not their constituents.”
– Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen

“At a time when Americans yearn for leaders who will fight for the interests of hardworking Americans, senators have a choice: Will they side with predatory banks, payday lenders, credit card companies and Wall Street, or with Main Street Americans? Voting to reverse this critical rule will ensure that Wall Street is even less accountable for corporate wrongdoing when they harm their consumers. The choice is clear.”
– Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs, Public Citizen

“Forced arbitration is a rigged game, one that the bank nearly always wins. It gives companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax a monopoly over our system of justice by blocking consumers’ access to the courts. It’s no secret why lawmakers want to hand financial companies a Get Out of Jail Free card. The financial industry has given more than $100 million in campaign contributions to lawmakers opposed to the rule. These contributions help explain why lawmakers are willing to aid and abet big banks in ripping off their own constituents despite overwhelming bipartisan support for the rule.”
– Amanda Werner, arbitration campaign manager, Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform

“The CFPB rule is the result of careful and deliberate study, based on sound analysis and extensive research. It is a commonsense consumer protection that gives hardworking Americans a chance to stand up against big banks and financial industry wrongdoing. And it prevents corporate wrongdoers from hiding their wrongdoing in the shadows. Upholding this rule will protect consumers. It should be one of the easiest votes the Senate takes.”
– Remington A. Gregg, consumer and civil justice counsel, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division

“Forced arbitration is an invitation to financial scams. When victims have no access to courts, the likes of Wells Fargo and Equifax become free to fleece customers. Forced arbitration means never having to say you’re sorry.”
– Bart Naylor, financial policy advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division

“The fact that the only significant legislation passed by this Congress consists of gutting commonsense regulations that protect consumers and the public is telling: many lawmakers in this Congress are deep in the pocket of corporate interests. The public has little faith that Congress will hold corporations like Equifax and Wells Fargo accountable when they defraud consumers. Now Republicans in Congress want to make it even harder for consumers to band together and hold these corporations accountable in court. The CRA gives them a special shortcut to accomplish this along partisan lines. If there’s anything that needs repealing it’s the CRA, not the critical new arbitration rule from the CFPB that makes big business accountable to consumers.”
– Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division

“In this age of corporate wrongdoing, when companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax are putting consumers in harm’s way, consumers need to be able to exercise their right to an impartial judge and jury to hold corporations accountable. But with forced arbitration clauses hidden in the fine print, corporations have a Get Out of Jail Free card and consumers are denied justice.”
– Michell McIntyre, coalition manager, Coalition for Sensible Safeguards

“The stark truth is that arbitration clauses, which bar individuals who’ve been harmed by financial institutions from joining together to hold wrongdoers accountable in court, allow banks and other powerful corporations to opt out of our justice system. Congress gave the CFPB the task and the tools to address that problem, and the CFPB has done its job conscientiously and well. If Congress now acts to set aside the CFPB’s arbitration rule, it will destroy our best chance to restore legal accountability to our financial system.”
– Scott Nelson, attorney, Public Citizen

Please contact any of the individuals listed above to speak with one of our experts.