financial industry reform and consumer protection

In 2008, America’s economy was brought to its knees by a financial crisis that began with deceptive practices by mortgage lenders and Wall Street banks. We’ve made progress in the years since to prevent that from ever happening again, passing banking industry reforms and creating a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But now, the very same interests that caused the 2008 crash are lobbying Congress to remove those safeguards. I believe in putting Americans’ homes and savings first. We need ensure that people have access to the information they need to make wise decisions, and the power to fight back if they are cheated.

As your Congresswoman, I will work to...

Protect against financial industry abuses. As a member of Congress, I would fight to empower consumers and prevent the kind of financial practices that produced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. After the financial crisis, when millions of people lost their homes to foreclosure, Congress established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to prevent deceptive and predatory practices. The CFPB has recovered $11.9 billion for some 29 million consumers, and here in California, it was central to exposing the millions of fraudulent bank accounts that Wells Fargo opened for its customers without their knowledge.

Unfortunately, banking lobbyists are working overtime to pressure Congress to dismantle this agency and many other reforms passed in the wake of the crisis. In Congress, I will defend an independent CFPB, along with the Dodd-Frank banking reforms and the Volcker rule that prevents large banks from gambling with your savings. I will also push to make classes in financial literacy a part of every high school student’s education, because the simplest thing we can do to protect consumers is to give them the knowledge to look out for themselves.

Defend net neutrality and ensure broadband for all. We don’t usually think of telecommunications policy as a consumer issue, but it is – especially for rural families in my own Congressional district. “Net neutrality” is crucial for virtually all consumers, but it is especially vital for those in rural areas. Net neutrality, which was recently repealed by President Trump’s Federal Communications Commission,  prohibits Internet Service Providers, or ISP’s, from charging certain websites, services and customers more money for high-speed service. Abolishing net neutrality means that big telecom companies can charge more to families and small businesses in out-of-the-way places. It also means that a telecom provider can give preferential treatment to services that it owns or supports, potentially shutting out rival services or websites that simply aren’t as profitable. As a candidate for Congress who represents many rural families in California, I view this as both an important national issue and major local one. Beyond fighting to restore net neutrality, I will also fight to expand funding for broadband service, including community Wi-Fi, in rural areas that have been ignored by the telecommunications industry.

Protect student borrowers. Americans are shouldering well over $1 trillion in student loan debt, more than double the load just a decade ago. The average debt for those who graduated in 2016 was $31,000.  I would push for improvements on three fronts. First, we need to crack down on unscrupulous universities, including for-profits, that charge high fees but have low graduation rates and don’t deliver on the promise of higher earnings. Second, we need to rein in unethical lenders that charge sky-high interest rates and fees. And third, I would preserve federal public-service loan forgiveness, so that the burden of student debt doesn’t prevent our best talent from entering careers like teaching that serve our community.