CHARLENE CROWELL

Since its inception, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has faced an unrelenting onslaught of attacks. From lawmakers, to lobbyists and business organizations, many still maintain that the marketplace should regulate itself, and government should just get out of the way.

Count the Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Dallas’ Rep. Jeb Hensarling, as a key believer who is determined to rollback regulations and hamstring regulators, if not eliminate them. On April 26, he convened a hearing to formally unveil legislation dubbed the Financial CHOICE Act 2.0. Participating in the session were expert witnesses, the majority of whom echoed Rep. Hensarling’s views.

This bill deserves a new name; let’s call it something more akin to what it really would do:  financial harm. For Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the committee’s Ranking Member, ‘the Wrong Choice Act’ would be an apt and accurate description.

“I want to be very clear for anyone who is watching—that is exactly what this bill would result in,” said the Congresswoman during the hearing. “The Wrong Choice Act thoroughly dismantles Wall Street reform, guts the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and takes us back to the system that allowed risky and predatory Wall Street practices and products to crash our economy.”

Without a doubt, the bill encourages government to take a blind eye to lenders that repeatedly harm borrowers by trapping them into turnstiles of debt and re-borrowing that eventually leads to overdrafts, closed bank accounts and in the worst scenarios, bankruptcies. Today, consumers in 35 states are subject to triple-digit interest rates that range from 154 to 677 percent.

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