The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the first line of defense against financial scams for our service members and veterans. Unfortunately, the U.S. House recently voted for the Wrong Choice Act (H.R. 10), which dismantles the watchdog.
H.R. 10 is the latest attempt by Wall Street to cash in after spending more than $2 billion in influence-peddling during the last election. The bill stops the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from taking legal action against large banks and other companies, such as payday lenders.
The protection bureau has taken more than 100 legal actions, returning $12 billion to more than 29 million customers. Twelve of those actions involved abuses of service members and veterans.
The agency would also lose its ability to investigate banks for compliance with the Military Lending Act, which provides special protections for our service members. And the public would lose access to the Consumer Complaint Database, which has handled more than 72,000 complaints from the military community.
The Pentagon found that financial abuses can cause service members to lose security clearances, resulting in lower unit preparedness. Fortunately, we have the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Congress should follow lead of Sens. Murphy and Blumenthal and stand up for consumers by defending the bureau. If enough people across the country contact Congress, we can make sure the bureau continues to rein in Wall Street for our military members and the rest of us, too.
Kate Cohen is state director of the consumer advocacy group ConnPIRG.