In another victory for the populism that carried Donald Trump into the White House, his Republican Party colleagues in the Senate late Tuesday night passed legislation that will make it easier for banks and credit card companies to screw everyday Americans.
To top it off, the vote was 50-50, which meant Trump's vice president, Mike Pence, cast the tiebreaker to pass the bill. So everyone can send thank-you notes to the White House when they can't sue, say, Equifax for exposing their Social Security numbers to the entire internet.
Before that happened, however, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) gave an impassioned speech clearly explaining the stakes of the vote the Senate was about to take:
“Here is the issue: if you have a checking account, credit card, private student loan, or any number of financial products, there is a good chance you have given up your right to go to court if that financial firm cheats you. That is because tens of millions of consumer financial contracts include a forced arbitration clause that says that if this financial company cheated you, you can't join with other consumers in court; you have to go to arbitration by yourself.”
The rule the Senate was voting to roll back would have allowed consumers to band together in class-action suits against these institutions. It was put in place by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Sen. Warren set up early in the Obama administration when she was still a professor at Harvard. So this is her baby the Republican-controlled Senate is undermining:
“Millions of Americans of all political parties think the game in Washington is rigged against them, and this vote is exhibit A. Companies like Equifax and Wells Fargo have hurt millions of consumers. [...] The Republican Congress hasn't done a thing to help the people hurt by [them]. Instead, tonight they are actually taking away one of the few legal tools to hold companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax accountable.”
Basically, Republicans sided with banks and big businesses over the men and women Donald Trump often says have been “forgotten” by the Washington swamp. His vice president cast the tiebreaking vote, and he will sign it into law. Populism!
Watch Warren's entire stemwinder of a speech below.