On Tuesday night, a 50-50 split vote in the Senate was broken by VP Mike Pence that would give broad lawsuit immunity to banks, credit card companies, auto lenders, credit reporting companies and other financial firms.
The president is expected the sign the resolution that effectively kneecaps the Obama-era Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from policing financial institutions engaging in two critical, abusive practices.
The first rule nullified by the vote essentially got rid of financial giant’s ability to use “forced arbitration” agreements — wherein a financial institution refuses to conduct business with any consumer not willing to sign away their right to sue said company in court (ie: Equifax). Instead, consumers would only be able to resolve disputes via privatized arbitration (which largely favors corporate entities).
Second, creditors will now be able to require consumers to sign away their right to bring class action lawsuits; a “form of litigation that ensures that companies that charge certain illegal fees to consumers face a consequence for their actions.”
The vote is a major victory for the banking industry; a win that every single Senate Democrat fought against (who represent nearly 30 million more people than their opposition), as well as Republican Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Kennedy (R-LA). All other Republicans voted in favor of the CFPB reversal, and VP Mike Pence was the deciding vote to cripple Americans’ financial and legal power in favor of large financial interests.
Democrats such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke out against the GOP’s actions, calling its decision as “giant wet kiss to Wall Street.”
“Bank lobbyists are crawling all over this place,” added Warren, “begging Congress to vote and make it easier for them to cheat consumers.”
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