Statement of U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski
Washington, DC – “Today, President Obama is taking a bold and important step to protect consumers from financial tricks and traps by announcing a recess appointment of his well-qualified nominee, Richard Cordray, to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The appointment bypasses Senate opponents who have pledged to block any director unless the bureau is first weakened in a manner approved by Wall Street. The confirmation of a director also grants the bureau, which has been running since July, all of its new powers to protect consumers. We applaud President Obama for standing up to Wall Street and its backers on Capitol Hill on behalf of families, seniors, servicemembers, students and other consumers who need protection from unfair financial practices.
“Despite strong support from the American public for the bureau, in December its Senate opponents had blocked Cordray’s confirmation on a 53-45 vote (with 60 yes votes needed) and pledged to continue their opposition to a director, any director, until the bureau was first weakened and its independence eliminated. Unfortunately, without a director, the CFPB would have remained a second-class regulator without full authority over either the Wall Street banks that destroyed the economy or the payday lenders seeking to pick consumer pockets. Opponents make the false claim that the CFPB is “unaccountable” even though its structure, independence and funding are no different than those of other bank regulators. Opponents want it killed, not changed.
“Fortunately, the President’s action guarantees that the CFPB, the first federal financial regulator with only one job, protecting consumers, will have all its powers to guarantee a level financial playing field for both consumers and fair-dealing firms.”
U.S. PIRG serves as the Federation of State Public Interest Research Groups. PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy groups that take on powerful interests on behalf of their members. On the web at http://www.uspirg.org. U.S. PIRG is a founding member of Americans for Financial Reform.
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program, PIRG
Ed oversees U.S. PIRG’s federal consumer program, helping to lead national efforts to improve consumer credit reporting laws, identity theft protections, product safety regulations and more. Ed is co-founder and continuing leader of the coalition, Americans For Financial Reform, which fought for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, including as its centerpiece the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was awarded the Consumer Federation of America's Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award in 2006, Privacy International's Brandeis Award in 2003, and numerous annual "Top Lobbyist" awards from The Hill and other outlets. Ed lives in Virginia, and on weekends he enjoys biking with friends on the many local bicycle trails.