Coalition EffortsConsumer Action is working on these important issues along with other organizations. If you would like to know more about these issues, please see "More Information" at the end of each article.
Table of Contents
Keep the “consumer watchdog” independent of partisan politics
The House Appropriations Committee is reviewing a provision in the “Financial Services and General Government” appropriations bill that would bring funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under the annual congressional appropriations process, instead of continuing to fund the agency directly from the Federal Reserve. This means partisan politics stands to restrict the CFPB’s regulatory authority by holding its purse strings and requiring the agency submit unnecessary reporting.
Bringing Lifeline into the Digital Age
The federal low-income assistance program for affordable voice service, Lifeline, is on the verge of a “reboot” to provide affordable broadband service to bring it into the 21st Century. Modernizing the program is essential for thousands of low-income households that may fall further behind without access. Lifeline is a federally funded program that helps low-income households afford essential communication service and it is the last of the four Universal Service Programs to move to broadband access.
Protecting borrowers, not banks, from risky loans
Coalition advocates wrote to Congress asking them to oppose H.R. 1210. The bill would change the new Qualified Mortgage rules in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s Ability-to-Repay requirement. Lenders should make a good-faith effort to determine a borrower’s ability to repay a mortgage before extending them a loan. Instead, H.R. 1210 contains an unnecessary exemption that puts all the risk on the borrower and protects the lenders from legal responsibility.
Defenseless whistleblowers forced to risk it all
Congress should quickly restore whistleblower rights for government contractors who work in the intelligence community (IC). In addition to facing the threat of being criminally prosecuted, IC contractors currently have no statutory protection against employer retribution, including terminations, demotions or blacklisting, when they expose government misconduct in an attempt to further public interest.
ED can do more to prevent widespread fraud
In light of the recent bankruptcy of Corinthian Colleges, and its subsequent campus shutdowns, coalition advocates urge the Education Department to develop a proactive strategy that would prevent for-profit schools that are under investigation for predatory practices from receiving federal aid and further defrauding students.
Protecting children from a common household item
Consumer advocates argue that it's time for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to regulate window blinds. They contend that the window covering industry’s current system of self-regulation is deeply inadequate and while the standard has been revised multiple times over the past two decades, it remains ineffective.
Advocates oppose effort to suspend lender liability under new mortgage rules
Coalition advocates wrote to the House of Representatives asking them to oppose H.R. 2213. The bill suspends homebuyer rights by absolving lenders from accountability for five months after new mortgage disclosure rules take effect this summer, and lets lenders off the hook even when a homeowner has been harmed. This means that homeowners who receive misleading mortgage cost disclosures during that period would have no recourse. Moreover, the legislation sets a dangerous precedent by suspending liability where legal rules apply.
Lawmakers siding with predatory payday lenders over troops
Consumer Action and coalition advocates wrote to the House Committee on Rules asking members to oppose Amendment #268 of the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act. The unnecessary database certification requirement will delay the Department of Defense’s regulatory efforts meant to make it more difficult for payday lenders to target troops with predatory offers. The amendment would put servicemembers at risk of financial harm in order to protect abusive lenders.
Help for Corinthian students who were misled
After Corinthian Colleges announced that it’s closing its twenty-eight campuses and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in asking the U.S. Department of Education to provide the students who were enrolled at the time with the information and resources they need to make an informed decision about transferring their credits or filing for a closed school discharge.
Operation Choke Point protects consumers from fraud
In letters addressed to the House and the Senate, Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in urging legislators to uphold the Department of Justice’s Operation Choke Point and to oppose any legislation that tries to restrict its authority. Choke Point is focused on regulating banks that help scammers and other illegal activity. Weakening the Operation would only make consumers more susceptible to data breaches, terrorism threats and internet fraud.
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