This week, I joined President Obama for his weekly White House radio address.
It’s been nearly ten years since I first sketched out the idea for a new consumer agency that would protect people from tricks and traps hidden in the fine print of mortgages, credit cards, and other financial products.
A lot of good people looked at the idea for that agency and said “Great idea, but don’t even bother trying.” They said we’d be up against an army of Wall Street lawyers and lobbyists unlike anything they’d ever seen. And they were right – the financial industry spent a million dollars a day to block or water down financial reform.
But thanks to President Obama and grassroots support all across the country, we won! In his weekly radio address, President Obama and I celebrated the fifth anniversary of that little agency opening its doors.
In five years, the agency has forced financial institutions to return more than $11 billion directly to people they cheated and it’s handled nearly a million complaints. That’s government that works for people!
It’s no surprise that the big banks, payday lenders, and their buddies in Washington are still fighting the agency. Earlier this month, House Republicans passed an appropriations bill that would severely hamstring the CFPB.
And last week at the Republican National Convention, the GOP platform declared the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has “dictatorial powers” and called for it to be “abolished.”
President Obama has consistently defended the CFPB from attacks, and Hillary Clinton has pledged to veto any bill that would roll back Wall Street reform – including the CFPB – as well.
This is a fight about whose side you stand on. The Democrats believe we need to level the playing field for working families and hold the financial institutions accountable when they break the law. The Republicans want to fire the cops on Wall Street so the big banks can run the show.