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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 10, 2013 In The News

As the board of the American International Group weighs whether to join a shareholder lawsuit against the United States government, several lawmakers have a simple message for the bailed-out insurer.

Don't do it. Don't even think about it.

With A.I.G. having fully repaid its $182 billion bailout only weeks ago, the prospect of the company trying to claw back some of the $22 billion in profit that its rescue generated for shareholders doesn't sit right with several members of Congress.

January 10, 2013 In The News

Facing outrage from all quarters, AIG Inc. said Wednesday it would not sue the U.S. government over terms of its multi-billion dollar bailout.

Insurer American International Group (NYSE: AIG) had been weighing whether to join a lawsuit filed by its former Chief Executive Maurice "Hank" Greenberg and his company Starr International, which owned 12 percent of AIG before its $182 billion rescue that started in 2008.

January 9, 2013 Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, released the following statement today in response to reports that the American International Group Inc. (AIG) is considering joining a lawsuit against the U.S. government claiming that the terms of the bailout were unfair:
 

January 4, 2013 In The News
The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission is to announce Friday a temporary reprieve from stringent new derivatives rules, people familiar with the matter said.
 
Until July, swaps dealers engaging in cross-border derivatives activities will be spared from enforcement of new rules so long as they are making a "good faith" effort to comply. The delay follows numerous others granted in recent weeks.
 
January 4, 2013 In The News

It does not seem like it would be difficult for regulators to block felons and other law-breakers from pitching private investment deals to unsophisticated customers, but nearly 20 months after proposing its "bad actor" rule, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is having trouble finalizing it.

More than a year after the legal deadline for finishing its work on the rule, the agency is stymied by internal disagreements, limited resources and a heavy workload.

January 4, 2013 In The News

Rep. Maxine Waters, who will take over as top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee next year, is urging the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to delay implementation of certain derivatives rules set to go into effect Jan. 1.

The CFTC was mandated under Title 7 of the Dodd-Frank reform law to help overhaul the derivatives market following the financial crisis. But concern is growing over how and when some of the provisions are being implemented, including across national borders.

January 3, 2013 In The News

The House is expected to vote as early as Thursday evening on a bill that would repeal the government's ability to seize and unwind large, failing financial institutions and eliminate a popular mortgage modification program.

The bill, which is designed to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" — automatic spending cuts and tax hikes that will be triggered automatically next year unless a bill is passed — is the first time the GOP has tried to tie that issue with a rollback of the Dodd-Frank Act.

January 1, 2013 In The News

Leading Democrats are blasting Republican leaders for including a package of cuts alongside their backup tax plan that would eliminate major pieces of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
 
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) accused the GOP of trying to sneak the dismantling of the Wall Street overhaul through at the last minute as part of a broader series of spending cuts being considered as part of Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) "Plan B" tax plan.
 

December 31, 2012 Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) issued the following statement today opposing H.R. 6684, the Spending Reduction Act of 2012, which would undo certain aspects of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

While it is clear that the Republican Majority's H.R. 6684 is an attempt to generate votes for Speaker Boehner's "Plan B," when it comes to protecting the American middle class from another taxpayer bailout, H.R. 6684 gets a failing grade.

December 4, 2012 Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) was unanimously elected Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee today by the House Democratic Caucus. Following the election, Congresswoman Waters released the following statement:

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