Four questions as Senate vote nears on CFPB arbitration rule
WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have intensified efforts to garner what would be a big legislative victory for banks and a significant defeat for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: overturning the rule that bans mandatory arbitration clauses.
The GOP appears to have barely enough votes to roll back the contentious CFPB rule, and floor debate was expected to begin Tuesday with a final vote possible at any time. But victory was not assured, as key GOP senators were still a question mark. Yet Democrats also faced the unexpected prospect of not having their whole caucus in town for a vote, which would give Republicans another advantage.
A rollback of the arbitration rule would be a setback for the CFPB at a time when the bureau’s standing in the Trump administration is unclear. But if the GOP fails to overturn the arbitration rule, it would immediately throw cold water on industry efforts to whittle away at the CFPB’s power.
Before this year, the Congressional Review Act was a relatively obscure vehicle for members of Congress to try to undo regulations on various sectors. But it has picked up steam under the Trump administration as leaders both GOP-controlled houses of Congress look to reverse Obama-era rules. However, under the law, Congress only has 60 session days to pass the measure — from when a final rule is published — meaning that the clock is likely to run out in mid-November.
Following are frequently asked questions about how it could play out and what the consequences would be: