Yesterday afternoon, Senator Richard Shelby laid out very clearly what Congressional Republicans consider to be one of their major priorities – rolling back legislation that will provide more security and stability to middle class families, and more accountability to Wall Street. He joins the Republican Leader in the House who promised to try to repeal Wall Street Reform in July.
Senator Shelby wants to go back to a time when there was no such thing as a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and when consumers were left without a voice at the table. This is an agency whose mission is to look out for American consumers and empower them with the clear and concise information they need to make the financial decisions that are best for them. Its existence is enormously important, because one cause of the financial crisis and the Lost Decade for the middle class was the unscrupulous practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders, who reaped billions at the expense of consumers from hidden fees and penalties.
That's why the President fought so hard for the new CFPB and new rules to outlaw the tricks and traps that have punished the American people. That hard-won victory came over the fierce opposition of Wall Street and the financial industry. But now the man who would be chair of the Senate Banking Committee says that if Republicans win control of the Senate, he will work to gut these new consumer protections.
We hope Senator Shelby is prepared to explain why he feels that way to the millions of Americans who have been misled with pages and pages of fine print on applications for credit cards, mortgages or student loans, and now find themselves in untenable financial situations.
It’s important to understand that when Congressional Republicans talk about re-opening this legislation, they’re talking about standing up for the interests of big banks and their lobbyists and leaving middle class families to fend for themselves.
The Wall Street reform legislation is a clear victory for the American people. It will bring greater economic security to families and businesses across our country by enacting the toughest financial reforms since the ones created in the aftermath of the Great Depression, and by making Wall Street more accountable. And yet Senator Shelby wants to get rid of the progress we made and go back to a system that helped cause the financial crisis.
It’s become very clear that Congressional Republicans do not have any viable solutions to fix our nation’s problems. And the solutions they do offer, like repealing Wall Street reform legislation, will do absolutely nothing to grow our economy, put people back to work and strengthen America’s middle class. Instead, they would take us back to the same exact failed economic policies that created the mess we’re in: cutting rules for the special interests and big corporations and cutting the middle class loose.
Jen Psaki is Deputy Communications Director