Franken fighting for consumer justice, health care

Senator Al Franken spoke about battling big banks and health care during a book signing at Books and Greetings in Northvale, NJ.

Senator Al Franken spoke about battling big banks and health care during a book signing at Books and Greetings in Northvale, NJ. (Photo: Anne-Marie Caruso/

U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota recently made a visit to Books & Greetings in Northvale, where he signed about 400 copies of his memoir, “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate” for New Jersey readers.

Franken said the Republican-led effort to unravel a new pro-consumer rule that limits forced arbitration in financial service contracts —for things like credit cards and checking accounts—is the result of powerful corporate interests trying to insulate themselves from liability by restricting Americans’ legal rights.

In Washington last month, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a so-called “resolution of disapproval” to dismantle the Consumer Financial Production Bureau’s (CFPB) recently finalized arbitration rule.

The rule, which Franken strongly supports, reopens the courtroom doors to financial consumers who want to band together in class-action suits after being wronged.

“For as long as I’ve been in the Senate, I’ve been fighting to end forced arbitration,” said Franken. “Forced arbitration strips Americans of their rights and forces them into a privatized justice system built to favor powerful corporations. That’s why I strongly support the CFPB’s new rule to help ensure that Americans don’t have to sign away their constitutional rights when they sign up for a credit card or checking account or take out a private student loan. But now, giant financial institutions and the big banks on Wall Street are wielding their influence in an attempt to kill the rule. And if we don’t push back, they could get their way. Republican efforts to dismantle the CFPB’s arbitration rule are already underway, which means it’s time to ratchet up the fight. We should be serving the people who sent us here, not powerful special interests.”

Franken is one of the strongest advocates in the fight against the practice of forced arbitration and he has worked with the CFPB on this rule for a long time.

He has long been fighting to ban these types of contracts. His comprehensive legislation, called the Arbitration Fairness Act, would restore the rights of consumers, workers, and small businesses to seek justice through the courts.

Franken has also pressed to ban forced arbitration in nursing home agreementsfor-profit college agreements, and cable, television, and phone contracts.

Franken also had some harsh words about Republican efforts to destroy the nation’s health care system in order to cut taxes for billionaires.

“I believe that my colleagues who opened up this shameful bill for debate need to consider what they are doing-moving to take health care away from their constituents and millions of other Americans,” said Franken. “In every part of the country, parents, children, seniors, neighbors, and loved ones are steps away from losing access to vital health care services. Our constituents sent us (to Congress) to improve their lives, not to make them harder.”

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