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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

October 8, 2013 Press Release

In a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, today highlighted the serious consequences of the U.S. defaulting on its debt. Waters also urged Republicans to stop using the debt ceiling to push extremist ideology, calling for a vote on a clean debt-limit increase. She delivered the following remarks.

As prepared for delivery:

October 8, 2013 Press Release

With only 13 days until the nation reaches its debt limit, and in the aftermath of the Department of Treasury's report on the impact of defaulting on our debt, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) today called on Republicans to stop threatening the nation's economy to move their ideological priorities. She released the following statement:

"As if the consequences of a government shutdown are not bad enough, Republicans are now threatening to hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to advance their ideological agenda.

September 26, 2013 Opinion Piece

Congresswoman Maxine Waters authored the following opinion editorial for the American Banker:

In 2008 we saw the consequences of the risky, irresponsible lending and financial practices resulting from the false ideology that financial markets can somehow properly police themselves. Lax mortgage standards and an unhealthy amount of risk taken by financial institutions and other market participants led to an economy that was not rooted in reality.

July 31, 2013 In The News

A majority of the Democratic women serving in the House of Representatives are urging President Barack Obama to nominate Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve, putting additional pressure on the president to reject economist Larry Summers, who is rumored to be the frontrunner.

July 31, 2013 Press Release

Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters, today joined by 37 of her fellow Democrats, delivered a letter urging President Obama to nominate Janet Yellen, current Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, to replace Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve when his term expires.

July 23, 2013 Opinion Piece

Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Senator Elizabeth Warren authored the following opinion editorial for The American Banker

It has been only three years since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act and five years since the 2008 financial crisis, but memories in Washington can be short.

July 19, 2013 Press Release

House Democrats, led by Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters, today released a "set of critical core principles" they believe should be part of legislative efforts to address the future of housing finance reform. Since the beginning of the 113th Congress, Democrats on the Financial Services Committee have held a series of briefings, roundtables, and caucuses on housing finance reform. As a result of this work, Committee Democrats have developed principles to guide their consideration of any housing finance reform proposals.

July 16, 2013 Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement today in response to the Senate's vote to confirm Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB):

June 18, 2013 In The News

A top House Democrat is asking the Obama administration to keep the nation's financial regulations out of trade talks with the European Union.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, sent a letter on Tuesday to President Obama urging him to avoid a situation in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations that would undermine the Dodd-Frank financial rules.

June 5, 2013 In The News

Maxine Waters has settled into her new job. This term, the L.A. Congresswoman became the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Financial Services Committee. The appointment came after a three-year fight to clear her name on banking-related ethics charges.

 Waters waited a long time for the position — 22 years. She says when she first came to Congress, "People were fleeing the old banking committee because of the [savings-and-loan] scandal and nobody wanted it."

Waters notes: "I stayed, I worked, I've learned, and I've earned the seniority."

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