CHN: Senate Vote Sets Dangerous Precedent for Consumer Protections

In another blow to consumers and consumer protection groups, the Senate on April 11 voted (51-47; 51 votes needed for passage) to repeal a 2013 measure issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau aimed at preventing racial discrimination in auto lending. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was the only Democrat to vote for the repeal, while no Republicans voted against it. The Senate voted to repeal the measure, known as a guidance document, under the Congressional Review Act (CRA); this was considered a troubling overreach of the CRA by many advocacy groups. Under the intent of the CRA, Congress has 60 legislative days to review and override certain new regulations issued by federal agencies, with only a simple majority vote in the Senate and presidential approval. However, in this case, the Senate used the CRA to target a guidance document that has been in place for years, using a loophole that could allow Congress to overturn regulatory protections and safeguards that have been in place for decades if such documents weren’t submitted to Congress as formal rules.

Advocacy group Public Citizen said in a statement that the Senate vote “sets a dangerous deregulatory precedent that stretches the CRA far beyond its original intent.” CHN joined Public Citizen and more than 60 other organizations in urging senators to vote against this repeal. Use of the CRA also prevents agencies from enacting similar regulations again in the future unless specifically authorized by a subsequent law. According to Politico, the House is expected to pass the measure under the CRA soon, and President Trump is expected to sign it.

consumer protection