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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

January 25, 2013 Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, today welcomed President Obama's nomination of Mary Jo White to be the next chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), stating:

January 22, 2013 In The News

While Dodd-Frank opponents will attempt to make "technical" corrections to the legislation, they may encounter fierce resistance from Rep. Maxine Waters, the 12-term California Democrat recently appointed as the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.

Waters is the most senior African-American female in Congress and one of the architects of legislation that established the Office of Minority Inclusion, which is responsible for overseeing federal agencies, Politic365 reports.

January 18, 2013 In The News

Efforts by House Republicans to turn back the landmark Dodd-Frank banking law will meet with staunch resistance from Rep. Maxine Waters.

The 12-term California Democrat was just appointed as the Ranking Member on the U.S. House Financial Service Committee. She is the most senior Black female in Congress and clearly the most powerful given her senior role on the Committee. As the architect of legislation that created the new Offices of Minority Inclusion that will oversee federal financial services agencies, Waters is focused on what she can get done in the 113th Congress.

January 17, 2013 Press Release

A contingent of 12 Members of the House of Representatives today filed an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in support of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Resource Extraction Rule. The rule is based on a provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
 

January 11, 2013 Committee Remark

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing this morning.  It is absolutely essential that we improve the oversight of investment advisers – the people that manage the assets of millions of individual and institutional investors across the country. 

January 11, 2013 Committee Remark

Thank you, Chairman Garrett, for holding this hearing this morning.

Improving the regulation of brokers, investment advisors and other financial professionals was a central goal of Dodd-Frank, and is crucial to ensuring that families are protected as they save for retirement, their children's education, or to buy a home.

January 11, 2013 Committee Remark

Chairwoman Capito and Chairwoman Biggert, thank you so much for holding this hearing this morning.

The recent near-collapse of our financial system taught us that capital is essential to fostering a more robust banking system – one that can both protect us from another crisis like the one we saw in 2008, and also ensure that lending to homeowners and small businesses continues even when we experience an economic downturn.

January 11, 2013 Committee Remark

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would also like to thank our distinguished witnesses for agreeing to participate this afternoon.

Next week marks the one-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act becoming law. This legislation brought sweeping reforms to our financial regulatory system so that we can avoid another economic meltdown similar to that of 2008.

January 10, 2013 Committee Remark

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  While many observers still disagree about the central cause of the financial crisis, we know that among many other factors, proprietary trading did play a role in the 2008 economic collapse.  Proprietary trading has indeed produced tremendous profits for some of our largest financial firms, but it also contributed to losses during the height of the financial crisis.

And ultimately, this is why Congress acted and directed our regulators to institute a ban on proprietary trading for those firms that have access to the taxpayer-backed federal safety net. 

January 10, 2013 Committee Remark

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important hearing this morning.
 

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