Coalition Efforts

Consumer Action is working on these important issues along with other organizations. If you would like to know more about these issues, please see “More Information” at the end of each article.

 
 

Postings

Boosting the FTC’s oversight ability through the Build Back Better Act
Consumer Action and 34 civil rights, civil liberties and consumer protection organizations joined in urging Congress to pass key provisions of the Build Back Better Act that will strengthen the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) power to halt discriminatory and abusive data practices. The bill provides $1 billion in funding for the Commission’s privacy and antitrust work and establishes an FTC bureau to address privacy, civil rights and data security issues.

The FTC must act now against data abuses and discrimination
Abusive data practices are prevalent across the digital economy, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the authority to protect consumers right now. Through a rulemaking process, the FTC can establish guardrails against discriminatory and dangerous data practices that prevent companies from weaponizing our data and putting profits over public safety. Consumer Action joined 45 other organizations to urge the FTC to exercise its statutory rulemaking authority and protect consumer data, through the entire data life cycle—collection, use, management, retention and deletion.

The FHFA has a new goal in promoting equity in homeownership
Long-standing discriminatory policies and practices in the credit and housing markets have resulted in significant racial and ethnic disparities in homeownership and the accumulation of wealth. Coalition advocates submitted comments to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on policies that promote equity and expand opportunity for low-income borrowers. The FHFA should require Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to remove barriers and advance equity in housing markets to better serve the needs of all consumers, especially those in underserved populations.

Americans need drug pricing reform now
Consumer Action joined more than 60 national, state and local groups in urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to resist demands from some caucus members seeking to weaken the Medicare drug price negotiation policies in the Build Back Better Act. The bill aims to lower drug prices for millions of Americans by allowing Medicare to negotiate certain drug prices, penalizing drug companies that increase their prices faster than inflation, and adding an out-of-pocket cap to Medicare Part D. Advocates warn that weakening this popular policy would allow Big Pharma to continue to gouge Americans and profit from exorbitantly high drug prices.

CFPB urged to reverse earned wage actions that could create dangerous FinTech payday loopholes
A coalition of 96 consumer, labor, civil rights, legal services, faith, community and financial organizations and academics is urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to revoke or significantly revise two actions taken in late 2020 regarding earned wage access (EWA) products. The group argued that the CFPB’s EWA advisory opinion and PayActiv approval order, which declared that certain EWA programs are not deemed “credit,” threaten to create loopholes in federal credit and fair lending laws and are being misused to promote FinTech exemptions in state laws that regulate predatory payday lending products.

Free community college is the boost the post-COVID-19 economy needs
Coalition members penned a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer announcing their support for President Biden’s plans for free college tuition. Advocates are urging Congress to act because they recognize that President Biden’s plans for free college tuition are vital to their states’ economic recovery and workforce competitiveness. President Biden’s plans would help nearly 2 million more students go to college, generate $169 billion in additional GDP and strengthen our nation’s recovery from COVID-19.

The FCC should protect Americans from sneaky voicemails from telemarketers and debt collectors
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering a request to allow the use of "ringless" voicemail technology by exempting it from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which prohibits most unwanted calls and texts. The new technology enables telemarketers and debt collectors to send potentially unwanted, prerecorded messages directly to the subscriber’s cell phone voicemail without ever giving the consumer the opportunity to answer—or to block—the incoming call. Consumer Action joined consumer groups in urging the FCC to deny the request to omit ringless voicemails from the TCPA. Ringless direct-to-voicemail messages are just as invasive, expensive and annoying as calls and texts to cell phones.

Biden’s Build Back Better Act to include historic expansion of funds to address homeownership gap for people of color
A broad group of consumer, housing and financial services advocates wrote the U.S. Senate to express support for the homeownership components in President Biden’s infrastructure bill, including first-generation downpayment assistance, support for Fair Housing enforcement, and investment in the Housing Investment Fund. Advocates noted that Biden’s Build Back Better Act funds important resources needed to address the decline of affordability and accessibility of homeownership in underserved communities. The housing market needs substantial investment to help increase the supply of affordable housing, improve access to homeownership, and address the troubling homeownership gap for Black and Brown people.

Protecting democracy from a lawless president
For decades, as the executive branch has increased its power, Congress has increasingly struggled to fulfil its constitutional duties to protect the rule of law by holding presidents accountable for overreaches and preventing abuses of presidential power. Advocates joined together to support the Protecting Our Democracy Act (HR 8363 and S 4880) in an effort to push for necessary institutional reforms to protect our democracy and restore Congress’s ability to check and balance the executive branch, without infringing on the president’s constitutional powers.

Requiring SSN collection by peer-to-peer payment services puts consumers at risk
Consumer rights groups sent a letter to Senators Ron Wyden and Mike Crapo of the Senate Finance Committee regarding a proposal under consideration in the budget reconciliation bill that would require peer-to-peer payment apps such as Square Cash and Venmo to collect Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) for virtually all payee accounts. Because, unlike businesses, most individuals do not hold a separate TIN from their Social Security number, these companies will be collecting the SSNs of millions of Americans, potentially putting their privacy and financial health at risk.

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