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Elizabeth Warren's Battle | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Elizabeth Warren's Battle

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)—the people’s agency and cop on the beat to protect consumers—is now a reality. Its website is live, you can sign-up for updates, and check out a sleek Arrested Development-style video narrated by Ron Howard that explains the bureau’s mission.
 

But as Elizabeth Warren made clear in a speech at the Consumers Union 75th anniversary celebration last week, the battle to establish a strong and independent CFPB is far from over.
 

“David beat Goliath, but make no mistake: Goliath is not down for the count. Families can and should be proud of their new watchdog, but they would be wrong if they take its future security and independence for granted,” said Warren. “Many of those who have opposed the CFPB are still trying to chip away at its independence by subjecting it entirely to Congressional appropriations without any dedicated funding from the Federal Reserve.”

Indeed Texas Republican Representative Randy Neugebauer has introduced legislation to house the CFPB in Treasury so that Congress can control its funding through Appropriations. That would be a disaster, potentially immobilizing the bureau.

“Politicizing the funding of bank supervision would be a dangerous precedent, and it would deprive the CFPB of the predictable funding it will need to examine large and powerful banks consistently and to provide a level playing field with their non-bank competitors,” said Warren.

This week, Warren and the CFPB will host a summit examining the impact of credit card legislation passed by Congress one year ago to cleanup the industry. Participants will include academics, industry leaders, consumer advocates, and government officials.

This kind of work is at the heart of the CFPB mission, as described by Warren: “We can do our part to help level the playing field, to cut out the tricks and traps, to make it possible to master a credit card contract or a mortgage closing without needing an army of lawyers.”

The financial services industry and their congressional cronies will continue efforts to thwart Warren and the CFPB every step of the way. Warren will use her bully pulpit, but she will need the people at her back, mobilized, if the agency is to be successful.

Read Warren’s full speech here. And stay engaged!

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