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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Consumer Protection

Priorities

  • Protecting and Strengthening the Dodd-Frank Act and the CFPB - The 2007-2008 financial crisis was the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression: Nearly $13 trillion in household wealth simply disappeared, with the retirement and savings accounts of many swept away. All told, around 9 million individuals were displaced from their homes, many of whom may never again have the opportunity of homeownership. In response, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which has had an deep-seated impact on the financial services industry. Regulators have taken important steps to implement Dodd-Frank. As a result, regulators are on the lookout for systemic risk, have taken steps to prevent future bailouts, have added transparency and structure to the once-opaque derivatives market, reined in credit ratings agencies, and implemented new investor protections. Consumers now have the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on their side, which has provided billions in relief to millions of consumers through its enforcement actions, while also regulating industries that have historically lacked strong federal oversight. As Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, Congresswoman Waters continuously fights to preserve and strengthen Dodd-Frank from partisan and industry attacks to weaken this historic legislation and leave consumers vulnerable to another crisis.

 

  • Ending Predatory Practices by For-Profit, Post-Secondary SchoolsCongresswoman Waters has been a longtime advocate in the fight against the unlawful and predatory actions of for-profit post-secondary institutions. Since her time as a Councilwoman in Los Angeles, she has fought to hold for-profit institutions accountable to the students they purport to serve. She continues to be a leading voice in Congress on this issue protecting our most vulnerable students and veterans’ right to a quality education will not riddle them with burdensome and expansive debt, but  will provide them with the opportunity to earn a living and lead productive lives.

 

  • Eliminating Risky Financial Products - The recent financial crisis was sparked by banks and other institutions steering everyday consumers into risky financial products such as subprime mortgages which ultimately led to millions of foreclosed homes or pay day lending loans with exorbitant interest rates that plunged the American consumer further into debt. Congresswoman Waters believes Congress and the federal financial regulators must put an end to their distribution because they are robbing hard-working people of their life savings and robbing the nation of its middle class.

 

Accomplishments

  • Credit Cardholders’ Bill of RightsCongresswoman Waters was an original co-sponsor of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights (H.R. 627).  The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights protects cardholders against arbitrary interest rate increases, excessive fees, due-date gimmicks, and double-cycle billing. The legislation also cracks down on misleading and deceptive marketing by credit card companies, prohibits them from issuing credit cards to minors, and curbs practices that result in high fees on low-income consumers with weak credit histories.  In addition, the bill empowers cardholders by giving them information and rights they need to make important financial decisions.

 

  • Support and Defense of the CFPB - Congresswoman Waters is the lead Democrat supporting and defending the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. With her support, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to date has already returned $5.3 billion to 15 million consumers who have been subjected to unfair and deceptive practices. She has worked with the Bureau to create rules-of-the-road to make sure predatory mortgages never again strip wealth from American families and endanger our economy. Congresswoman Waters has also worked with regulators to institute rules to protect retirees and other investors from the practices that wreaked havoc on savers in 2008.

 

  • Introduction of the CLASS Act - In response to the predatory practices at the nation’s for-profit colleges, Congresswoman Waters, alongside Senator Richard Durbin, introduced the CLASS Act, which forbids schools from including mandatory arbitration and class action ban clauses from enrollment agreements. Mandatory arbitration and bans on class actions effectively prevent students from having their day in court when harmed by a for-profit college. Congresswoman Waters believes that students should have the right to join together and exercise their legal rights to obtain relief if they believed they have been wronged or harmed.

 

  • Divestment from Pay Day Lending OperationsCongresswoman Waters recently held a first-of-its-kind panel of lawmakers and religious leaders to discuss the impact predatory payday and small-dollar lending practices are having in communities across America. Additionally, Congresswoman Waters has also called the country’s most notable endowments and state retirement plans to begin to take steps to divest their interests in one of the country’s largest payday lenders.

More on Consumer Protection

May 20, 2014 Press Release

Following today's report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finding that consumers' credit scores may be overly penalized for medical debt, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, welcomed the Bureau's findings and called upon Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling to hold a hearing on the issue, and on legislation Waters has introduced to address the problem.

Waters released the following statement.

April 28, 2014 Press Release

At today's Financial Services Committee hearing with regulatory officials to discuss "government red tape," Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, applauded regulators for putting the financial system on more stable footing after the worst economic crisis in a generation, and criticized the majority for continuing to push an ideologically-driven agenda focused on deregulation.

April 2, 2014 Press Release

Today, Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) Fannie Mae announced it has earned a fourth quarter profit of $6.5 billion in 2013 and will repay $7.2 billion to the U.S. Department of the Treasury in March. The payment will mean the company has returned $121.1 billion back to the taxpayers –returning even more than the $116.1 billion it received after being taken over by the government in 2008. This comes following a similar announcement by Freddie Mac late last year.

April 2, 2014 Press Release

Today, the Republican-led House of Representatives approved H.R. 3193, legislation that would undermine consumer protection by weakening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's ability to be an effective, independent advocate for consumers.

March 25, 2014 Press Release

In today's Financial Services Committee hearing on "Why Debt Matters," Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA), underscored the importance of promoting growth and reducing income inequality through short-term increases in discretionary fiscal stimulus in order to reduce the nation's debt and deficit. 

January 16, 2014 In The News

Representative Maxine Waters, the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, said on Tuesday that the proposed budget "fails to adequately fund our financial regulators."

Two primary regulators of Wall Street are preparing, once again, to make the most of scarce resources.

January 15, 2014 Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, released the following statement regarding the omnibus appropriations legislation.

"While this agreement is an improvement from the harmful funding levels called for by the sequester, I'm disappointed that the omnibus appropriations legislation fails to adequately fund our financial regulators, shortchanges many of our housing programs and declines to promote a strong global economy.
 

January 14, 2014 Press Release

In the wake of the massive Target data breach that compromised more than 40 million credit and debit card accounts as well as the personally identifiable information of as many as 70 million consumers, Democratic members of the Financial Services Committee have called for an inquiry into the problem.

October 28, 2013 In The News

The "Holding Individuals Accountable and Deterring Money Laundering Act" highlights some lawmakers' dissatisfaction with recent money-laundering penalties and provides a new roadmap for strengthening enforcement.

October 9, 2013 Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement in anticipation of the nomination of Janet Yellen as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.

"President Obama's choice in nominating Janet Yellen to lead the Fed is both historic and important for our nation's economy. Ms. Yellen's experience as a former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Regional Fed Bank President, and Vice-Chair of the Federal Reserve make her one of the most qualified people ever to be nominated. 

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