Congressional Consumer Justice Caucus forms

Thursday, April 17, 2008

 

Consumer and civil rights advocates were invited to an April 16 press conference held by Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) to launch the Congressional Consumer Justice Caucus.

Ellison said, "There are a lot of caucuses, but this is the first Consumer Justice Caucus." Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and 15 other represenatives have joined Ellison in the Caucus.

In her remarks, Consumer Action's Linda Sherry noted the irony that a freshman Congressman came up with this idea instead of longer term legislators. "It takes a newcomer to bring fresh ideas to the Hill."

Congressman Keith Ellison (center) with representatives from consumer and civil rights groups.

You can visit our [email protected] center to send a letter to your represenatives asking them to join the Caucus. Click here to send a letter.

Groups present with Consumer Action at the press conference were Center for Responsible Lending, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, Center for American Progress, Demos, US PIRG, the National Consumer Law Center and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO.

About the caucus

Congressional Consumer Justice Caucus is an open forum for Members of Congress and their staff to address consumers concerns about important financial issues facing Congress. The Caucus is committed to increasing the awareness of consumer issues in Congress so that the economic concerns of our ordinary citizens, working families and consumers are highlighted in all major policymaking decisions in Congress.

Every day consumers face ever increasing threats to their economic well being:

  • Crude oil prices have risen above $100 a barrel, and the Department of Energy estimates that some parts of the nation will see gasoline reach over $4 a gallon this summer.
  • As mentioned in a recent New York Times editorial, the national foreclosure rate has now reached 20,000 homes per week.
  • Homeowners continue to face falling housing values while trying to re-finance out of risky subprime and adjustable rate loans to avoid foreclosure.
  • This January, the Case-Shiller Composite Index, which measures home prices across 10 markets, fell 11.4% from that time a year ago, while the number of foreclosure filings was up 57% nationwide from the previous January.
  • Consumers are increasingly relying on credit to make ends meet between paychecks. With the growing credit crisis, they will see rates on everything from student loans to credit cards increase dramatically over the next year, making it increasingly difficult for our consumers to make ends meet. According to a study by DEMOS, between 1989 and 2001, credit card debt in the US almost tripled from $238 billion to $692 billion. 

The Caucus will start by providing Members of Congress and staff with timely and relevant briefings on key consumer and economic issues and organize special orders and floor speeches on pending consumer friendly legislation.

 

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