by Jeff Sovern
Now that the election is over, the post is back!
Read the American Banker op-ed on the study here.
My student, Andrew Lipkowitz, and I recently reviewed the votes of the members of the United States Senate going back to 2009 on consumer issues. I'm reporting some of the findings today and I plan to report others in future posts. We found 21 votes on which, in our view, consumers and financial institutions were on opposite sides (a table identifying the 21 votes and the position we concluded were pro-consumer appears below the fold). One of the remarkable things about the votes is the degree of partisanship. All but two Democrats took more pro-consumer positions than any of the Republicans, and only one Republican, the now-defeated Scott Brown of Massachusetts, was more pro-consumer than any of the Democrats–and then it was only two of the Democrats (I wonder if the fact that his opponent is Elizabeth Warren has had an effect on his votes).
For those who voted at least 16 times on consumer protection issues, we scored Senators as "consumer protectors" if they voted for consumers 65% or more of the time, and "bank protectors" if they voted for consumers 35% or less of the time (not all the votes involved banks, as opposed to other financial institutions or lenders, but it seems easier to use the phrase "bank protectors" than "financial institution protectors"). The lists appear below. Only three senators who voted at least 16 times on these issues fell in the middle range of more than 35% and less than 65%, offering further evidence of the polarization of the Senate on consumer protection/financial institution protection.
And now, the Consumer Protectors:
Here are the Bank Protectors:
Below the fold: the senators, their votes and scores; and the votes and how we scored them:
Here is the spreadsheet showing the senators voting and scores. It includes all senators, not just those who met the 16 vote minimum.
And here is a table showing the votes and how we scored them: