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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 12, 2011 Committee Remark

Opening Statement & Amendment Statements

Opening

Mr. Chairman, I am deeply, deeply opposed to H.R. 1315, which would decrease the threshold needed for the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to override regulations issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from a 2/3 super-majority, to a simple majority, and would exclude the CFPB from voting.

Honestly, I have to ask if my Republican colleagues at all remember the utter failures of our banking regulators leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

May 12, 2011 In The News

By Kevin Gosztola
 
A hearing titled, "Legislative Proposals to Address the Negative Consequences of the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Provisions," was held today. Focused on proposed legislation from Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), the hearing looked at how to "improve" the Dodd-Frank Act by "preserving" the internal reporting mechanisms or processes that companies have setup for whistleblowers (e.g. hotlines).

May 12, 2011 Committee Remark

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

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress recognized that robust whistleblower protection is critical to preventing another financial crisis.

Prior to Dodd-Frank, the inducements for whistleblowers to step forward were inadequate when balanced against the tremendous countervailing social and economic disincentives. 

May 11, 2011 In The News

by Kate Shepherd

House Republicans on Wednesday took aim at a whistleblower provision of a recent bank reform law, part of a broader attempt to limit the impact of the legislation.

Rep. Michael Grimm, a New York Republican, introduced draft legislation at a House Committee on Financial Services subcommittee hearing Wednesday that would require employees to report fraud to their employers before they can receive a monetary reward for reporting it to Securities and Exchange Commission. Read earlier item on whistleblower provision.

May 11, 2011 In The News

by Zach Carter

A cadre of top Democrats said Wednesday that heavy Wall Street speculation was driving up gas prices and blasted Republicans for pushing a new bill to delay any crackdown on such speculation until the end of 2012.

May 11, 2011 Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the Ranking Member of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, delivered the following remarks at a press conference on HR 1573 today outside the U.S. Capitol:

"Thank you, Ranking Member Frank.

I'm pleased to join you and my other Democratic colleagues here today to, once again, stand up and speak out about the increasingly brazen attempts by the GOP to slowly but surely dismantle the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

May 3, 2011 Committee Remark
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, delivered the following opening remarks during a mark up of seven different bills today. The Congresswoman also delivered many statements and amendments on the specific bills listed at the end of this release. Contact Sean Bartlett if you are interested in those additional materials.

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

April 12, 2011 In The News

By Marc H. Morial

What do American Express, Merck, Xerox, Darden Restaurants, and Citibank have in common?

March 26, 2011 Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and the African American Members of the House Financial Services Committee (known as the FS 10) were recently honored by the Black Press of America and the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation (NNPAF) with the 2011 Political Leadership Award for their work during negotiations for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The Congresswoman and Congressman William Lacy Clay, Jr. accepted the award on behalf of the FS 10 at an event last week at a Newsmaker Dinner and Gala at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

March 11, 2011 Committee Remark

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the Subcommittee, issued the following opening statement:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for convening this hearing today to examine the potential for creating a covered bond market in the United States.

Today we convene to discuss covered bonds, and Representative Garret's covered bond bill, H.R. 940.

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