Congress re-convenes this week. At the top of its post-election agenda is the FY 2017 budget, which raises the possibility that extraneous policy riders will once again be used in a backdoor effort to undermine financial reforms and the agencies responsible for carrying them out, beginning with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Wall Street
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Against that background, more than 300 organizations are calling on members of Congress and the Obama Administration to reject all such riders, and any budget that includes them.

The reforms adopted in response to the 2008 financial and economic meltdown were part of an effort to safeguard consumers and investors and the safety and integrity of our financial system, and to put an end to some of the abusive practices that allow big banks and predatory lenders to generate undeserved wealth at the expense of the real economy and ordinary Americans.

Both candidates promised to do more, not less, to hold Wall Street and the financial industry accountable, because that is what makes sense for our economy, and what overwhelming majorities of Americans want to see.

Congress should not go in the opposite direction, whether it’s through the front door or the back door.

The full letter, sent to Congress today, is attached below.

304 Organizations Say No Backdoor Giveaways To Wall Street

Dear Member of Congress,

We, the undersigned organizations that advocate on behalf of consumers, students, civil rights, labor, small business, and more, write to urge you to oppose any funding bills that include provisions rolling back or undermining financial reform. At the end of last year, and again this September, Congress wisely rejected multiple efforts to use the budget process to force through unrelated ideological riders, including changes in financial regulation that would undermine consumer protections, endanger financial security, or reduce accountability for Wall Street banks and giant financial companies. It is vitally important that members remain committed to opposing such riders again this year.

Wall Street-driven financial deregulation and out-of-control compensation that incentivized excessive, short-term risk-taking led to the economic meltdown of 2008. Taxpayers picked up the tab for Wall Street’s recovery, but everyday Americans are still struggling with the devastating effects of the crisis. The good news is that since 2008, Wall Street reforms have been put in place that have begun to protect consumers and reduce the risk of another catastrophe.

Among the shining examples of that reform has been the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). CFPB enforcement activity has secured more than $11.7 billion in relief for more than 27 million consumers and their rulemaking and supervision are making markets safer and fairer for hundreds of millions more.

Other reforms included in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) have begun to reduce the systemic risks that led to the last crisis. These reforms restrict irresponsible and excessive borrowing and risk-taking by financial institutions, and are particularly targeted at the largest Wall Street banks and financial institutions.

New advances have been made to protect the retirement savings of American families. The Department of Labor’s (DOL) conflict-of-interest rule will protect workers against misleading advice designed to steer them into investments that benefit the broker instead of the client.

See the full letter below.