Republican Senate Narrowly Passes Gift To Wall St. In Late Night Vote

US President Barack Obama listens as newly sworn-in Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House July 17, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama spoke about the recent confirmation of Cordray, as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who was sworn in earlier today. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Senate Republicans, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-to-50 tie, voted Tuesday to strike down a new consumer protection rule. Five years in the making, it allowed millions of Americans to file class-action lawsuits against financial institutions.

The defeat of the rule further loosens regulation of Wall Street.  It is yet another step by the Trump administration and Republicans to roll back Obama-era policies. Policies enacted in response to the 2008 economic crisis caused by prior Republican led deregulation of Wall Street.


By overturning the rule, Republicans dismantled a major effort of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under Obama appointee Richard Cordray. Congress created CFPB after deceptive or careless lending practices in mortgages led to the bailout of several major financial institutions. The Director of the CFPB is appointed by the sitting president, but serves a five year term independent of Executive branch changes.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has broad authority and autonomy from the White House and Congress. CFPB enforces existing federal laws and writes new regulations, like the arbitration rule. That independence has rankled Republicans and other federal agencies.

The new rule written by the consumer bureau, set to take effect in 2019, restored the right of individuals to sue in court. Credit card companies and banks insert arbitration clauses into the fine print of financial contracts to bar people from pooling their resources in class-action lawsuits. Part of a spate of actions by the bureau, CFPB also cracked down on debt collectors, the student loan industry and payday lenders.

The Dodd-Frank financial law in 2010 mandated CFPB study arbitration, as arbitration clauses appeared in tens of millions of contracts. That effort produced a 728-page report, released in March 2015, that challenged longstanding assumptions about arbitration.

For decades, arbitration clauses derailed claims of financial gouging, discrimination in car sales, unfair fees, and deceptive business practices. More and more companies adopted the clauses. Today, mandatory arbitration is a condition of actions as diverse as opening a checking account, renting a car, getting cable service or checking a loved one into a nursing home.

Appointed by President Obama in 2012, Mr. Cordray’s tenure at the bureau is ending. Then President Trump will install his own appointee, a move expected to neuter one of the financial industry’s most aggressive regulators.

The vote was a win for a party struggling to deliver on its party's priorities. Last month, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, again failed to draw the support needed to overturn the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

The vote late Tuesday left many Democrats dismayed. Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said the Republicans had betrayed ordinary Americans.

By voting to take rights away from customers. The Senate voted tonight to side with Wells Fargo lobbyists over the people we serve.”

The measure now heads to President Trump, who is expected to sign it.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Questions continue to be raised about the mental and physical health of President Donald Trump.

Slurred or rambling speech has been caught on camera at MAGA rallies and other presidential events.

Keep reading... Show less
Fox News

The House Judiciary Committee voted Friday morning to bring abuse of power and obstruction of Congress articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the House floor for a full vote.

The Democratic House is expected to vote in favor of the articles as well, officially impeaching Trump and putting him on trial in the Republican Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is already sparking concerns about the trial's fairness with comments he made Thursday night on far-Right Fox News host Sean Hannity's show.

Keep reading... Show less
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images // Win McNamee/Getty Images

South Bend Mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg got an awkward shoutout from President Donald Trump, who's nicknamed the candidate "Alfred E. Neuman" after the Mad Magazine character.

It happened at the President's recent rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Keep reading... Show less
Mark Wilson/Getty Images // DC Comics

"Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos..."

Heath Ledger's Joker says this in 2008's The Dark Knight but it could also apply to the presidency of Donald Trump. From defying subpoenas, introducing sweeping policy changes to his own staff through tweets, fostering a revolving-door administration, abruptly deserting allies, and, of course, the ceaseless bullying.

The President and the Clown Prince of Crime have both been agents of some degree of chaos.

So it may not come as a surprise that the Joker joins the campaign of a Trump-like character in the latest issue of Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child.

Keep reading... Show less
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote in favor of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Friday, teeing up a full House vote for next week.

The move comes after weeks of hearings with Republicans shouting in defense of the President and against the efforts to hold him accountable for soliciting foreign assistance in an election.

Keep reading... Show less
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has some experience with impeachment. While her husband Bill was President, the Independent Counsel investigation led by Ken Starr probed every aspect of her life before and during her time in the White House as well as her husbands.

While Starr failed to find any criminal wrongdoing by the First Lady, he did after his four year investigation discover her husband's extramarital affair with a White House intern.

Keep reading... Show less