Doom and despair are on the horizon for Democratic voters if the GOP takes the Senate this November. The middle class can look forward to a partial defunding of Obamacare, a weaker EPA, major restrictions on abortions, and a crippling blow to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Sen. Elizabeth Warren helped create the financial watchdog to protect everyday consumers from the fallout of the financial crisis.
Mother Jones reports that the Bureau is responsible for safeguarding Americans against predatory lenders, credit card companies, debt collectors, and other financial institutions. The CFPB is the first federal agency created with the purpose of protecting consumers from economic maleficence. This agency has been a thorn in the side of Republicans for three years now, and they are coming after it with a vengeance.
Since the bureau’s inception, Republicans have aggressively targeted it. They have gone after the very structure of the agency, stating that one director wields too much power, opting for a panel to oversee the agency instead. The house has already passed bills that ‘transfer some of its powers to other regulators and make its budget subject to the congressional appropriations process.’ This could potentially emaciate the agency which is dependent on the Federal Reserve for funding. Republicans also want to rewrite CFBP rules on overturning regulations. Votes to change Bureau regulations currently require a two-thirds of the 10 voting members to pass. New legislation would require only a simple majority. The director of the CFPB would also be excluded from one such vote. They aren’t stopping there though.
Republicans would also like to eliminate protection for consumers against defunct institutions, as well as restrain the type of voluntary data that the agency collects from consumers. Senate Democrats have fended off these House bills for now, but their walls would crumble in the event of a Republican takeover. The good news is that President Obama does still have his veto, and Dems could potentially fend off legislation, but not if it comes attached to a ‘must pass’ bill like in a debt ceiling situation.
The expected chair of the banking committee in the event of a GOP Senate takeover is Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) In such a takeover, Shelby would surely expedite the House bills through committee. Republicans would also be inclined to try to cripple parts of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act of 2010. Sen. Shelby introduced the Financial Regulatory Responsibility Act in 2011, which requires enhanced economic analysis and justification of regulations proposed by certain Federal banking, housing, securities, and commodity regulators. In layman’s terms, it will be much more difficult to pass financial regulation. Republicans, backed by financial giants are likely to pitch Dodd-Frank cuts as
“small technical fixes and the White House is more likely to cave and sign them into law if they don’t have help from a Democratic Senate in blocking and tackling,”
a former Treasury Department official told Mother Jones.
h/t: Mother Jones