The Risk In The System Starts to Come Home

Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor who chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel that watches over the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) has never been known to mince words, and she’s not starting now. In the past few days by way of a handful of interviews and, most recently, an appearance on The Daily Show, she’s advocated aggressively for the passage of a Congressional Financial Protection Agency as a fundamental element of regulatory reform.

Moreover, it can’t be compromised for a variety of interests, namely those of insiders, she told The Huffington Post.

“We just can’t pass a regulatory reform bill that acquiesces to the industry on every front and where everything is so watered down that nobody has to take a hard vote.”

She’s not alone, of course. In the current issue of Shelterforce, John Taylor, president and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, advocated for the passage of a CFPA, and take “CRA and all of the existing fair lending and consumer protections away from the bank regulatory agencies and instead establish a consumer-focused agency to enforce these laws.”

But Taylor argues that HR 3126, the bill that was to create CFPA, was “significantly weaker than the one offered by President Obama,” most notably for the exclusion of CRA, leaving the oversight of the Community Reinvestment Act to the “same regulators who had failed to enforce it for so many years.” Though Taylor pointed to the Senate version of the CFPA bill, as part of a broader bank reform bill, that restored the amendments lost in the House Financial Services Committee. That language, which is “virtually identical to that offered by President Obama,” had led to a widespread mobilization effort across the country among community groups to support the initiative. That bill is now part of the larger regulatory reform bill, “HR 4173, or, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Warren, in her appearance on the Daily Show, displayed a fair level of urgency when it came to constituents calling their elected officials to encourage them to back this bill:

“This really is the moment, the chips are all on the table. we’re going to write what the American economy looks like for 50 years going forward, and right now, the CEOs have any real change bottled up in the Senate.

“If you have never written a senator before, now is the time.

“This is America’s middle class; we’ve hacked at it, and chipped at it, and pulled on it for 30 years now. And now, there’s no more to do: either we fix this problem going forward, or the game really is over.”

Watch a very informative and entertaining eight minutes here:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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Matthew Brian Hersh served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics.


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