I don’t know whether it is size or the financial impact of their campaign contributions, but while we were all distracted by Russiagate and three hurricanes the Republicans got half way to passing legislation that takes protections away from the vast majority of Americans and effectively gives a get out of jail free card to several large corporations that thrive by taking advantage of the “little guys and gals”. Let’s explore.
On July 25th the House passed H Res 468 by a vote of 233-188. All aye votes were cast by Republicans, all nay votes by Democrats. This is part of H J Res 111, which is currently sitting in the Senate. Mitch McConnell had planned on slipping it in last week until the Graham-Cassidy crashed and burned. It is still alive and dangerous.
The bill would repeal a recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulation limiting the use of forced arbitration clauses in contracts that take away the consumers’ right to enter into a class action suit against a huge corporation. In other words the rule protects the, (by comparison defenseless), average American against a major corporation that bullies them into signing away their right to enter into a legal confrontation where they are at a distinct disadvantage anyway. The large corporations don’t want to enter into a legal confrontation where they hold all the advantages; they want to control the process and thereby the outcome. They not only want a stacked deck, they also want marked cards.
By one of the quirky rules of the Senate, if Republicans act quickly this legislation will not be subject to the filibuster effectively shutting Senate Democrats out of the process. The Republicans need only 50 votes (Vice President Pence would serve as the tie breaker). As of the latest reports five GOP Senators, (Susan Collins of Maine. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio), have yet to declare their position on the bill. Ironically McConnell’s plan to use the distraction of Graham-Cassidy to sneak this bill through backfired. The pressure and circus sounding that legislation sufficiently distracted several of the five to the point they couldn’t study this bill. Accidentally that may be one of the very few positive accomplishments of the Trump administration to date.
If this legislation were to pass, Trump will certainly sign it into law. The loser will be hundreds of millions of Americans. Among the winners will be Equifax and Wells Fargo. Where have we read about them recently?
The fate of this bill is unknown at this point. McConnell, Trump and company can only afford to lose two of the five. If you live in or have any influence with the five undecided Senators please let them know your views!
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