WASHINGTON – On Monday, Senate Democrats held a press conference attacking Republicans for considering a repeal of a controversial consumer protection rule.
In July, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of repealing the arbitration rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The rule, which prohibits companies from crafting arbitration clauses that ban consumers from joining class-action lawsuits, was recently put in place by the CFPB, and has drawn praise from Democrats. Now, Senate Republicans are rumored to be considering a quick vote to repeal the rule.
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken joined his colleagues in blasting the GOP, saying efforts to repeal the arbitration rule are “sleazy.”
“Forced arbitration basically serves one purpose, and that is to make sure the giant corporations can still come out on top if they wrong consumers,” Franken said.
Critics of the arbitration rule say it is anti-business and could result in higher costs for the consumer. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, calls the rule “anti-consumer,” citing data that shows arbitration often compensates consumers faster and with larger awards than class-action lawsuits.
The timing of the Democrats’ attack is interesting, it comes as executives from Wells Fargo and Equifax are set to testify in front of the Senate Banking Committee next week. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the potential repeal of the arbitration rule a “get out of jail free card” for institutions facing public backlash.
Last year, Wells Fargo admitted its employees may have created upwards of 2 million accounts without approval from the customer. In August, an additional 1.4 million fake accounts were reportedly found. Following the new revelations, Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan is set to testify before the Senate Banking Committee on October 3.
Equifax CEO Richard Smith is also set to testify before the Senate Banking Committee next week. Equifax recently announced it had been compromised between May and July of this year. The data breach put upwards of 143 million Americans at risk, exposing social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other sensitive personal information. In the wake of the data breach, Franken has led Senate Democrats in introducing legislation that would increase regulations on credit agencies like Equifax.
Watch the press conference from the Senate Democrats here:
in the coming days, the GOP could bring up a vote on legislation would let companies like Equifax and Wells Fargo off the hook. Today we're fighting for consumers like you. Tune in LIVE:
Posted by U.S. Senate Democrats on Wednesday, September 27, 2017