The other repeal push

THE OTHER REPEAL PUSH…. When Congress was working on financial regulatory reform a few months ago, you may recall that congressional Republicans huddled with Wall Street lobbyists to try to kill the legislation. They failed and the most sweeping reform measures since the Great Depression became law.

Soon after, those same Republicans announced that if they’re given power, they’ll try to repeal the Wall Street reform law and return to the regulatory structure that was in place for (and helped lead to) the 2008 crash that nearly collapsed the global financial system.

That rhetoric faded in time, probably because it didn’t poll especially well. But we were reminded this morning that GOP attitudes haven’t changed, and if voters reward Republicans in November, they’ll go back and try to shape the law to Wall Street’s liking.

Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the powerful Senate Banking Committee, said lawmakers must revisit the legislation enacted this summer, which is the broadest overhaul of financial rules since the Great Depression.

“The bill is so sweeping and such a game changer in many ways that it’s incumbent upon us to revisit it,” Shelby said at the Reuters Washington Summit. […]

If Democrats lose control of Congress, Republicans are sure to tear apart the contentious legislation they mostly all opposed.

“The consumer agency bothers me the most,” said Shelby, who failed to reach a compromise with Democrats and voted against the bill.

Soon after, the White House’s Jen Psaki offered a compelling response.

Senator Shelby wants to go back to a time when there was no such thing as a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and when consumers were left without a voice at the table. This is an agency whose mission is to look out for American consumers and empower them with the clear and concise information they need to make the financial decisions that are best for them. Its existence is enormously important, because one cause of the financial crisis and the Lost Decade for the middle class was the unscrupulous practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders, who reaped billions at the expense of consumers from hidden fees and penalties.

That’s why the President fought so hard for the new CFPB and new rules to outlaw the tricks and traps that have punished the American people. That hard-won victory came over the fierce opposition of Wall Street and the financial industry. But now the man who would be chair of the Senate Banking Committee says that if Republicans win control of the Senate, he will work to gut these new consumer protections.

We hope Senator Shelby is prepared to explain why he feels that way to the millions of Americans who have been misled with pages and pages of fine print on applications for credit cards, mortgages or student loans, and now find themselves in untenable financial situations.

It’s important to understand that when Congressional Republicans talk about re-opening this legislation, they’re talking about standing up for the interests of big banks and their lobbyists and leaving middle class families to fend for themselves.

As we saw during the debate over the bill itself, that is how the GOP often prefers to operate.