With a government shutdown narrowly averted and budget negotiations moving into a potentially volatile final stage, more than 160 national, state and local organizations are telling lawmakers and the Administration not to let the process be used to force through ideological spending riders that would block financial reform or undermine the funding or authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Wall Street and its political allies are trying to attach a long wish list of financial deregulation proposals to “must pass” spending legislation. The groups point out in their letter that this would be dangerous for economic security, and that the great majority of Americans, regardless of political party, want financial regulation strengthened rather than weakened.
The letter cites examples of some of the dangerous riders that financial special interests are lobbying for. They including proposals that would:
- Re-legitimize the marketing of toxic “gotcha” mortgages like those that helped bring on the financial crisis;
- Deregulate a wide swath of the banking industry, including institutions as large as Wells Fargo, under the guise of relief for “community banks”;
- Block the Department of Labor from safeguarding Americans against conflicted retirement investment advice, which costs us an estimated $17 billion a year;
- Preserve the ability of financial companies to get away with systematic wrongdoing by barring consumers from joining forces over a common grievance;
- Take away the CFPB’s independent funding and make it depend on annual congressional appropriations instead
These and similar proposals are ill-advised, the letter argues, and in any case should be “be debated and voted on as stand-alone measures in an open process.”
The full text of the letter is below: