Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Conyers & Johnson Urge House to Reject Flawed Legislation that Strips Americans of their Access to Courts

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Congressman Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (D-Ga.) sent a letter to the Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit in opposition to the “Bureau Arbitration Fairness Act.” The Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit considered this legislation today in a hearing entitled “Legislative Proposals to Improve Transparency and Accountability at the CFPB.” As the hearing commenced, and following transmission of the letter, Representatives Johnson and Conyers issued the following statement:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“This afternoon, a Financial Services Subcommittee is considering the ‘Bureau Arbitration Fairness Act,’ legislation that would insulate the nation’s largest financial institutions from all legal recourse, even when they have violated the law. Specifically, this bill would eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) ability to prohibit or even limit the use of forced arbitration agreements in consumer financial contracts. For too long, large corporations have used these agreements to stack the deck against the individuals who sign up for student loans, credit cards, and other financial products without understanding dense language buried deep within agreements. Today we wrote the Financial Services Subcommittee with the simple message that enough is enough,” said Conyers and Johnson.

“Forced arbitration clauses strip individuals of their fundamental constitutional rights, depriving countless Americans of a fair process and a meaningful choice of how to resolve disputes with powerful financial corporations. In an effort to create actual arbitration fairness—unlike the so-called ‘Bureau Arbitration Fairness Act’—we have introduced H.R. 1844, the ‘Arbitration Fairness Act of 2013,’ that prevents the use of forced arbitration clauses in consumer, employment, and antitrust agreements.

“When the choice of arbitration is post-dispute—and therefore understandable and voluntary—arbitration is a fair process that parties choose willingly. We call on our colleagues in Congress to reject the unfortunate ‘Bureau Arbitration Fairness Act,’ that is designed intentionally to neuter the CFPB’s rulemaking authority.”

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