Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) said Tuesday that Republicans have advanced a faulty argument about the government over-regulating the economy.
Waters took aim at Republicans' use of the Congressional Review Act, or CRA, to deregulate financial transactions at a press conference with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.). She dismissed concerns that regulations hurt community banks, specifically touting the Dodd-Frank Act's benefits for consumers.
"Dodd-Frank is the best thing that ever happened to consumers," Waters said.
She went on to praise the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, whose rules the three lawmakers were defending at the press conference. Waters advocated regulation by saying that protecting consumers would not be possible without the six-year-old agency.
"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the only agency that's really looking out for the welfare of consumers," she said. "Prior to it, when we took a look at the responsibilities of all those agencies that were supposed to be concerned about consumer protection, it wasn't there."
Pelosi came in to say that Republicans are obfuscating by even using the word "deregulation." She said that they simply want to remove protections to serve unfettered capitalism.
"They use the word 'deregulate' but what they are doing is removing protections," Pelosi said. "Protections for clean air, protections for our children. I could show you pictures over and over again of families, children, seniors, consumers, men and women in uniform, who have been ripped off by the CRA in the name of deregulation, but what it really is, is laissez faire."
Republicans have used the CRA to remove Obama-era regulations, but it only applies to regulations made within the last 60 legislative days. Democrats are trying to defend the CFPB's new rule stopping banks from a practice termed "mandatory arbitration," in which contracts require consumers to pursue disputes through private arbitration rather than the courts.
Republicans, including those in the Trump administration, have pushed for reducing the power of the CFPB as part of a larger regulatory reform effort targeting the Dodd-Frank Act. Republicans have said that the CFPB's rule would affect markets in a way that hurts consumers.
"The CFPB's anti-arbitration rule hurts consumers and it's another example of the problems caused by this rogue and unaccountable agency," said Keith Rothfus (R., Penn.), who sponsored a resolution in the House to block the arbitration rule.
Republicans on the Financial Services Committee all joined Rothfus on the resolution.