While we’ve all been focused on #TrumpRussia and #PrayerWalks, Rep. Andy Barr and his Wall Street friends are about to gut banking regulations and once again put our economy at risk. How? Through the CHOICE Act.
The CHOICE Act (don’t you love these names?) is touted as a bill to roll back “unnecessary government intrusion into our financial system.” Since one person’s “unnecessary government intrusion” is another person’s “protection from out-of-control greed,” let’s take a look at some of the bad things the bill actually does.
Ever since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created, it’s been a target of Republicans, and especially those who are in bed with Wall Street because of campaign donations. They’ve tried to eliminate it, they’ve tried to defund it, and they’ve tried to declaw it. With the CHOICE Act, they will succeed.
Recently, a group of 20 state Attorneys General sent a letter to House leadership, urging them to pull the bill. From the article in Consumerist about the bill, here are some of the bad things it does. Everyone one of them is shocking in its own right. Taken together, they are the answer to “how many of Wall Street’s wet dreams can we include?” Read this list, and see just how bad this bill actually is:
- Require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to get congressional approval before taking enforcement action against financial institutions
- Restrict the Bureau’s ability to write rules regulating financial companies
- Revoke the agency’s authority to restrict arbitration
- Revoke the CFPB’s authority to conduct education campaigns
- Prevent the Bureau from making public the complaints it collects from consumers in its Consumer Complaint Database
- Revamp the agency’s structure by allowing the CFPB director to be fired at will by the President
- Require the agency’s budget to be subject to the annual congressional appropriations process
- Prevent the CFPB from having oversight over the payday lending industry
- Rename the CFPB to the Consumer Law Enforcement Agency
- Require banks to undergo stress tests every other year, with banks agreeing to increase their capital never having to undergo stress tests
- Revoke the so-called qualitative test that evaluates a bank’s plan for managing capital and risk
- Remove requirements under the Durbin Amendment [PDF] that guided how much credit card networks could charge retailers for processing debit card transactions
Just look at that list! Can’t write rules, can’t do enforcement, can’t touch payday lending (!), and can’t even do consumer education. Allow banks to SAY they are going to increase their capital, and just on that say-so get out of stress tests. Make the CFPB director a toady of the President. Allow credit card networks to charge retailers whatever they want.
This is one of the worst financial bills to ever come through Washington. It guts a number of important protections for consumers, and is a blatant giveaway to Big Money. This is a bill by oligarchs, for oligarchs.The CHOICE Act is a bill BY oligarchs, FOR oligarchs. It must be stopped. Click To Tweet
We have to contact our representatives and get them to listen to US, the average Americans, instead of their billionaire supporters. We have to say to the Great Vampire Squid and its friends, “Not this time, you don’t.”
In short – We have to stop this bill. Contact your rep and insist they vote against this horrible bill. Or text “resist” to 50409 to use the Resist Bot. Let’s let our reps know that we know about this bill, we oppose it, and we want them to stand with us.