Friday, April 1, 2011

Elizabeth Warren and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau vs. the American Chamber of Commerce

Elizabeth Warren

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/business/31warren.html?_r=1&nl=us&emc=politicsemailema4

All,

Elizabeth Warren is one of the very few individuals in Obama's current administration whose outstanding track record, progressive policy expertise, conviction, clarity, and fundamental sense of justice, fairness, and compassion I trust 100%. Warren is very tough, very smart, and very fair and is ALWAYS thinking of advocating for and protecting the best interests of American workers, families, and consumers first and foremost and is NOT AFRAID of the bullying tactics, lies, and endless political misrepresentations of either Big Business or the Republican party. If the President had any guts he would elevate her current position as the major aide charged with "setting up" the CFPB to the administrative and policy HEAD of the Bureau. The right and the corporate elite in this country absolutely despises and fears her. She's that good...

Kofi


Warren Defends Agency at Chamber of Commerce
By EDWARD WYATT
March 30, 2011
New York Times

WASHINGTON — She never actually uttered “I come in peace,” but Elizabeth Warren, the Obama administration aide charged with setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, might have felt like an alien visiting an anxious planet Wednesday when she went to the United States Chamber of Commerce.


Elizabeth Warren
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Elizabeth Warren, an Obama adviser, is in charge of setting up a consumer protection agency.



Warren Defends Agency at Chamber of Commerce
By EDWARD WYATT
March 30, 2011
New York Times

WASHINGTON — She never actually uttered “I come in peace,” but Elizabeth Warren, the Obama administration aide charged with setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, might have felt like an alien visiting an anxious planet Wednesday when she went to the United States Chamber of Commerce.


“I do not consider myself in hostile territory right now because I believe we share a point of principle: competitive markets are good for consumers and for businesses,” Ms. Warren told about 300 executives at the chamber’s annual conference on capital markets. But, she added, “Markets don’t work in the way they are supposed to unless there are some well-enforced rules.”

The detail and scope of those rules are what worry the members of the chamber and some members of Congress, both of whom have been vocal in their criticism of the regulatory powers given to the new consumer agency by the Dodd-Frank Act, the financial regulation bill signed into law last July.

The disagreements between Ms. Warren and one of her chief critics, Representative Spencer Bachus, Republican of Alabama and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, grew more heated hours after her address. Mr. Bachus accused Ms. Warren of mischaracterizing her recent participation in the mortgage service industry settlement talks.

Last week, Ms. Warren told the committee that she provided “advice” to the Treasury secretary and others about a possible settlement but was not involved in the negotiations. State attorneys general and federal officials are discussing a settlement with mortgage service companies in response to questionable foreclosure practices.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Bachus released a seven-page document titled “Perspectives on Settlement Alternatives in Mortgage Servicing,” which, in a letter to Ms. Warren, he said demonstrated that she had a larger role than she had indicated to the committee.

“It is plain that the C.F.P.B. has done more than provide ‘advice’ on the proposed servicing settlement,” Mr. Bachus wrote. The letter requested that Ms. Warren consider “if there are any aspects of that testimony related to the C.F.P.B.’s role in the mortgage servicer settlement negotiations that you wish to clarify or correct.”

The letter was co-signed by Representative Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia and chairwoman of the subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit.

Jen Howard, a spokeswoman for the consumer agency, said that Ms. Warren correctly characterized her participation. “As Elizabeth Warren testified to Congress earlier this month, the consumer bureau provided advice to various officials involved in the mortgage servicing law enforcement matter,” Ms. Howard said in a statement. “She is aware that not everyone agrees with that advice or how to address the serious deficiencies at some of the nation’s largest mortgage servicing firms.”

Mr. Bachus, a consistent critic of both the consumer agency and Ms. Warren, filled that role again Wednesday when he addressed the Chamber of Commerce conference immediately before she spoke.

Noting that he has introduced a bill to change the governance of the consumer bureau from a single director to a five-person, bipartisan commission, he characterized the powers given to the head of the consumer agency as unmatched in government.

“They regulate all financial products and services, so if it involves a dollar changing hands, they can regulate it, or she can, because she actually has total discretion” over consumer financial products, Mr. Bachus said. “If George Washington came back today, or Abraham Lincoln or Warren Buffett signed up, I wouldn’t give that person total discretion.”

Ms. Warren was followed by Thomas J. Donohue, president and chief executive of the chamber, who warned that the consumer agency could choke off economic growth in the United States.

“If not used carefully, the C.F.P.B.’s tremendous power to go after bad actors could cause serious collateral damage to America’s job creators,” he said.

Ms. Warren has disputed the notion that the consumer agency has unbridled power. “There are plenty of checks in place,” she said, including a law governing how federal agencies write and adopt new regulations. Its rules, like those of any agency, can be overturned by Congress or federal courts.

In addition, she said, the consumer bureau is “the only bank regulator — and perhaps the only agency anywhere in government — whose rules can be overruled by a group of other agencies,” specifically the Financial Stability Oversight Council, composed of nine regulatory agency heads and an independent insurance industry expert. A two-thirds vote of the council is required to overturn a consumer agency rule.

Ms. Warren also warned against making the agency subject to annual appropriations of Congress, saying it would inject politics into the regulatory structure and cause banks and other regulated agencies to lobby for looser oversight.

Regulation and competition are not, she said, mutually exclusive. “In fact, when done right, they support each other,” Ms. Warren said. “Are the Chamber’s members, as citizens or business owners and executives, in a better place today because the F.A.A. regulates air safety, because the states regulate insurance companies, because the federal government enforces antitrust statutes? Of course they are. And so is this country.”

“I do not consider myself in hostile territory right now because I believe we share a point of principle: competitive markets are good for consumers and for businesses,” Ms. Warren told about 300 executives at the chamber’s annual conference on capital markets. But, she added, “Markets don’t work in the way they are supposed to unless there are some well-enforced rules.”

The detail and scope of those rules are what worry the members of the chamber and some members of Congress, both of whom have been vocal in their criticism of the regulatory powers given to the new consumer agency by the Dodd-Frank Act, the financial regulation bill signed into law last July.

The disagreements between Ms. Warren and one of her chief critics, Representative Spencer Bachus, Republican of Alabama and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, grew more heated hours after her address. Mr. Bachus accused Ms. Warren of mischaracterizing her recent participation in the mortgage service industry settlement talks.

Last week, Ms. Warren told the committee that she provided “advice” to the Treasury secretary and others about a possible settlement but was not involved in the negotiations. State attorneys general and federal officials are discussing a settlement with mortgage service companies in response to questionable foreclosure practices.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Bachus released a seven-page document titled “Perspectives on Settlement Alternatives in Mortgage Servicing,” which, in a letter to Ms. Warren, he said demonstrated that she had a larger role than she had indicated to the committee.

“It is plain that the C.F.P.B. has done more than provide ‘advice’ on the proposed servicing settlement,” Mr. Bachus wrote. The letter requested that Ms. Warren consider “if there are any aspects of that testimony related to the C.F.P.B.’s role in the mortgage servicer settlement negotiations that you wish to clarify or correct.”

The letter was co-signed by Representative Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia and chairwoman of the subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit.

Jen Howard, a spokeswoman for the consumer agency, said that Ms. Warren correctly characterized her participation. “As Elizabeth Warren testified to Congress earlier this month, the consumer bureau provided advice to various officials involved in the mortgage servicing law enforcement matter,” Ms. Howard said in a statement. “She is aware that not everyone agrees with that advice or how to address the serious deficiencies at some of the nation’s largest mortgage servicing firms.”

Mr. Bachus, a consistent critic of both the consumer agency and Ms. Warren, filled that role again Wednesday when he addressed the Chamber of Commerce conference immediately before she spoke.

Noting that he has introduced a bill to change the governance of the consumer bureau from a single director to a five-person, bipartisan commission, he characterized the powers given to the head of the consumer agency as unmatched in government.

“They regulate all financial products and services, so if it involves a dollar changing hands, they can regulate it, or she can, because she actually has total discretion” over consumer financial products, Mr. Bachus said. “If George Washington came back today, or Abraham Lincoln or Warren Buffett signed up, I wouldn’t give that person total discretion.”

Ms. Warren was followed by Thomas J. Donohue, president and chief executive of the chamber, who warned that the consumer agency could choke off economic growth in the United States.

“If not used carefully, the C.F.P.B.’s tremendous power to go after bad actors could cause serious collateral damage to America’s job creators,” he said.

Ms. Warren has disputed the notion that the consumer agency has unbridled power. “There are plenty of checks in place,” she said, including a law governing how federal agencies write and adopt new regulations. Its rules, like those of any agency, can be overturned by Congress or federal courts.

In addition, she said, the consumer bureau is “the only bank regulator — and perhaps the only agency anywhere in government — whose rules can be overruled by a group of other agencies,” specifically the Financial Stability Oversight Council, composed of nine regulatory agency heads and an independent insurance industry expert. A two-thirds vote of the council is required to overturn a consumer agency rule.

Ms. Warren also warned against making the agency subject to annual appropriations of Congress, saying it would inject politics into the regulatory structure and cause banks and other regulated agencies to lobby for looser oversight.

Regulation and competition are not, she said, mutually exclusive. “In fact, when done right, they support each other,” Ms. Warren said. “Are the Chamber’s members, as citizens or business owners and executives, in a better place today because the F.A.A. regulates air safety, because the states regulate insurance companies, because the federal government enforces antitrust statutes? Of course they are. And so is this country.”



http://www.prwatch.org/node/9912


Elizabeth Warren 2.0

Submitted by Mary Bottari on February 3, 2011

banking economy BanksterUSA Real Economy Project

In a savvy move, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched its first website today. The CFPB was created by the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill in July 2010 and is headed on an interim basis by well-known consumer advocate, Elizabeth Warren. While the agency will not officially open its doors for formal consumer complaints until July 2011, the new website offers the agency an opportunity to start reaching out to consumers to hear their ideas on how the institution can best serve the public.

"We're excited to announce the launch of our website, ConsumerFinance.gov, for one very important reason –- to start a conversation with you. With the launch of our site, we will be open for suggestions," Elizabeth Warren explained in a statement.


While the agency will have a hard time dealing with actual consumer complaints until it hires more staff and formally opens its doors, the website offers staff a mechanism for communicating with an anxious public -- who, in my experience, has been clamoring for Elizabeth Warren's contact information ever since the passage of the Wall Street reform bill.

It is a clever idea and good customer relations.

Get Involved in the Conversation!

Visit the website at ConsumerFinance.gov.

"Like" the agency on Facebook.







Wednesday, March 30, 2011

MoveOn.org Calls Out Obama, General Electric, and their CEO Jeff Immelt For Insulting and Exploiting American Workers

From:"Lenore Palladino, MoveOn.org Political Action"
Date: March 30, 2011
To: "Kofi Natambu"
Subject: A slap in the face

Dear MoveOn member,

According to The New York Times, last year General Electric (GE) made over $14.2 billion in profit, but paid NO federal tax.1 None.

In fact, thanks to the millions GE spent lobbying Congress, we American taxpayers actually owed GE $3.2 billion in tax credits.2

Now GE is slashing health benefits and retirement benefits for new employees among non-union workers and is expected to push unions to accept similar cutbacks3, while its CEO, Jeff Immelt, gets a 100% pay raise.4

What's worse? Immelt now sits as chair of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council), representing corporate America to the President on matters like job creation and corporate taxation.That's a slap in the face to every hardworking, tax-paying American—especially GE employees.

That's why we're teaming up with Russ Feingold and his new group Progressives United today to call for Immelt to go. Will you join the call?

Sign the petition calling for GE CEO Jeff Immelt to step down as chair of the President's Jobs Council.

One of the chief ways GE avoids paying taxes is by shifting a large portion of its profits overseas, and jobs follow.5 Now GE's CEO is the person charged with helping the President create jobs here in America. That's just perverse.

And if the American people got back just the $3.2 billion GE took in tax credits, it would pay for the programs that House Republicans want to gut, like community health centers providing care to over three million low-income people6 and food and health care assistance to pregnant women, new moms, and children.7 We'd even have enough left to save the jobs of over 21,000 teachers across the country.8

The American deficit is being weighed down by hundreds of billions spent on bailing out major corporations. The tea party's plan is to make working families pay through devastating cuts, instead of making corporations with billions in profits pay their fair share.

But if we can hold Immelt accountable for GE's corporate irresponsibility, the nation will turn its attention to the injustice of corporate tax evasion in the face of the Republicans' budget-slashing attack on working families.

Make it all happen by signing the petition calling for Immelt to go. Just click below—and share this email with your friends, family, and social networks today.

http://pol.moveon.org/immelt_must_go/?id=26713-9442574-sj8LXIx&t=2

Thanks for all that you do.

–Lenore, Tim, Marika, Kat, and the rest of the team

Sources:

1. "G.E.'s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes All Together," The New York Times, March 24, 2011
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=207259&id=26713-9442574-sj8LXIx&t=3

2. Ibid.

3. "After Paying Zero Income Taxes, GE Plans To Ask Its Union Workers To Make Wage and Benefits Concessions", ThinkProgress, March 28, 2011

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=207260&id=26713-9442574-sj8LXIx&t=5

4. "UPDATE: GE Doubles CEO Immelt's Compensation, Shrinks Board", Smart Money, March 14, 2011

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=207261&id=26713-9442574-sj8LXIx&t=6

5. "G.E.'s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes All Together," The New York Times, March 24, 2011

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=207259&id=26713-9442574-sj8LXIx&t=7

6. "NACHC Statement in Response to the Budget from the House Appropriations Committee," National Association of Community Health Centers website, February 9, 2011

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206514&id=26713-9442574-sj8LXIx&t=8

7. "Bye Bye, Big Bird. Hello, E. Coli.," The New Republic, February 12, 2011

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206104&id=26713-9442574-sj8LXIx&t=9

8. Based on an annual teacher's salary of $42,500, as noted in the Payscale website (updated March 19, 2011), accessed March 30, 2011

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=207263&id=26713-9442574-sj8LXIx&t=10

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