Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a happy birthday earlier this year. (Photo: Screenshot)

Trump and GOP Set to Eviscerate Warren's Consumer Protection Agency

But when it comes to dismantling financial regulations, Sen. Elizabeth Warren vows to fight Trump and the GOP 'every step of the way'

Deirdre Fulton

The nation's consumer protection agency, a brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), could be imperiled by Donald Trump's presidency, observers are warning.

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), established under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that passed after the 2007-09 financial crisis, has cracked down on predatory payday lenders; set new standards for the mortgage market; recovered and sent back billions of dollars for consumers harmed by illegal practices of credit card companies, banks, and debt collectors; and generally "worked on behalf of working families," as Warren put it in a video marking the bureau's five-year anniversary in July.

But in that same video, Warren noted, "in spite of that success, or perhaps because of it, the agency has a huge bulls-eye on its back." Banking lobbyists and their allies in Congress have been working to dismantle and weaken the CFPB since the moment it was established.

And under President-elect Trump—whom Yahoo reports "consistently announced his plans to dismantle Dodd-Frank and indirectly bashed the CFPB on his website"—that bulls-eye just got bigger.

"The election spells very bad news for the CFPB," Alan Kaplinsky, head of the Consumer Financial Services Group at law firm Ballard Spahr, told the Huffington Post this week.

As Bloomberg explained on Friday, Trump

could sign legislation proposed by Republicans that would put the agency under Congress's thumb. Lawmakers could also overturn specific CFPB regulations, including one loathed by the industry that made it easier for consumers to sue their banks.

Most importantly, Republicans are poised to get the chance to replace the CFPB's aggressive leader, Democrat Richard Cordray. His term is up in 2018, but Trump may be able to replace him even sooner if a recent court ruling is upheld that gave the president more leeway to oust the agency's director. Trump would be expected to replace Cordray with someone far less interested in pursuing tough oversight.

Indeed, Scott Pearson, another partner at Ballard Spahr, "which specializes in representing financial firms and often works with clients facing CFPB scrutiny," as the Los Angeles Times reported, said of Cordray: "He's one of the biggest problems in terms of individuals in the government that have strangled industry. Trump thinks over-regulation is a big problem, so firing Cordray is something I think he'd do the first week."

But Warren and other progressive Democrats aren't about to stand by and watch the CFPB be demolished along with other key financial regulations.

"If Trump and the Republican Party try to turn loose the big banks and financial institutions so they can once again gamble with our economy and bring it all crashing down, then we will fight them every step of the way," Warren said in the speech to the AFL-CIO labor federation on Thursday.

As Americans for Financial Reform (AFR)—which advocated for the creation of the CFPB—put it this week: "In this election, supporters of both candidates were looking for more accountability for Wall Street. The country will be watching to see whether the new President and his Congressional allies make choices—about who to appoint and what policies to embrace—that can deliver that kind of change in the public interest."

AFR's statement continued:

In Congress, members of both parties have expressed outrage over the Wells Fargo scandal and the bank's massive abuse of consumer rights. If their rhetoric is not to ring hollow, the new Administration and Congressional leaders will need to reexamine a number of policies that Republicans have regularly supported in the past. They cannot, for example, credibly call for an end to financial-industry fraud and abuse, yet continue their efforts to eviscerate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the new agency that in its short life has delivered more than $11 billion in relief to consumers defrauded by banks and financial companies, while beginning to bring basic standards of fair play to a marketplace long notorious for its tricks and traps. Nor can they claim to be looking out for middle-class workers, but go on trying to overturn the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which will keep Wall Street from pilfering $17 billion a year from Americans' retirement savings.

Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, agreed. "The CFPB is very popular with the public," he told the LA Times. "If Trump wants to pick that fight, I think that's a mistake for him."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Hold My Pearls': Debbie Dingell Lets Marjorie Taylor Green Have It Over Abortion Rights

The Michigan Democrat engaged in a verbal altercation with the far-right Republican lawmaker from Georgia on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Jon Queally ·


Dems Who Opposed Pentagon Cuts Received Nearly 4x More Donations From Weapons Makers

The latest passage of the NDAA "is particularly strong evidence that Pentagon contractors' interests easily take precedence over national security and the public interest for too many members of Congress," said one critic.

Kenny Stancil ·


Cisneros Slams Cuellar for Being Only House Democrat to Vote Against Abortion Rights

"Once again Henry Cuellar refused to stand up for South Texans' reproductive freedom."

Jake Johnson ·


Covid-19 Cases, Deaths Rising Among Children Across US

"Is there an acceptable pediatric body count?" asked a top pediatrician in New Orleans this week. "I think not."

Julia Conley ·


Senate Filibuster Final Obstacle After House Dems Pass 'Historic' Abortion Rights Bill

"This is a moment of crisis," said one activist. "We cannot allow the filibuster, or anything else, to stand in the way of safeguarding our fundamental freedoms."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo