Shea-Porter Statement on House Republicans’ Forced Arbitration Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) released the following statement after voting “no” on H.J. Res. 111, House Republican legislation to block the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new rule prohibiting banks and lenders from using forced arbitration, which passed the House today by a vote of 231-190:
“I strongly opposed today’s House Republican bill to block the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new rule, which would build on its track record as a champion for everyday Americans. I believe it’s our duty to protect Americans from the kind of underhanded arbitration practices that this rule would crack down on, and it’s wrong that House Republicans are trying to block it just a week after it was finalized. Their urgency shows that some of the big financial institutions are running scared from a rule that could really protect Americans from one of the most egregious forms of financial abuse.”
Today’s resolution would roll back a key consumer rights provision that protects the rights of working families and prevents big banks and lenders from using forced arbitration as a cloak to hide fraud, deceptive practices, and other wrongdoing. Forced arbitration clauses are buried in the fine print of many non-negotiable financial consumer contracts. Consumers never have a choice: if they refuse to agree to forced arbitration as a condition of opening a bank or credit card account, the financial institution will simply refuse to do business with them. Forced arbitration allows big banks and lenders to block lawsuits, including class action lawsuits, and keep the details of the forced arbitration process and any wrongdoing – no matter how egregious and unlawful – from public scrutiny.
There is overwhelming opposition to H.J. Res. 111 from more than 300 consumer, civil rights, labor, community, veteran/military family and non-profit organizations, including: AFL-CIO, Alliance for Justice, American Association of University Women, AFSCME, American Federation of Teachers, Americans for Financial Reform, AMVETS, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Blue Star Families, Center for Responsible Lending, Common Defense, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, Economic Policy Institute, Government Accountability Project, IAVA, Jobs with Justice, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, LULAC, NAACP, National Consumer Law Center, National Employment Law Project, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Guard Association of the United States, National Military Family Association, National Partnership for Women & Families, NOW, National Urban League, National Women’s Law Center, Public Citizen, SEIU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Swords to Plowshares, UAW, Vietnam Veterans of America, and VoteVets.