My first White House radio address

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This week, I joined President Obama for his weekly White House radio address.

It’s been nearly ten years since I first sketched out the idea for a new consumer agency that would protect people from tricks and traps hidden in the fine print of mortgages, credit cards, and other financial products.

A lot of good people looked at the idea for that agency and said “Great idea, but don’t even bother trying.” They said we’d be up against an army of Wall Street lawyers and lobbyists unlike anything they’d ever seen. And they were right – the financial industry spent a million dollars a day to block or water down financial reform.

But thanks to President Obama and grassroots support all across the country, we won! In his weekly radio address, President Obama and I celebrated the fifth anniversary of that little agency opening its doors.    

I love every chance I get to talk about the CFPB. Please watch and share this video message from President Obama and me.

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In five years, the agency has forced financial institutions to return more than $11 billion directly to people they cheated and it’s handled nearly a million complaints. That’s government that works for people!

It’s no surprise that the big banks, payday lenders, and their buddies in Washington are still fighting the agency. Earlier this month, House Republicans passed an appropriations bill that would severely hamstring the CFPB.

And last week at the Republican National Convention, the GOP platform declared the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has “dictatorial powers” and called for it to be “abolished.”

President Obama has consistently defended the CFPB from attacks, and Hillary Clinton has pledged to veto any bill that would roll back Wall Street reform – including the CFPB – as well.

This is a fight about whose side you stand on. The Democrats believe we need to level the playing field for working families and hold the financial institutions accountable when they break the law. The Republicans want to fire the cops on Wall Street so the big banks can run the show.

I won’t stop fighting for CFPB – and we need you to be a part of this fight too. Please watch and share our address about why we need to keep fighting for financial reform.


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What I told Stephen Colbert about Trump's speech

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Last night, Donald Trump went on national television and told Americans that they should be afraid of each other.

You listen to a speech like that, and I don’t know how there’s anyone left in America who isn’t afraid of Donald Trump.

I spoke to Stephen Colbert live after the Republican National Convention about why Donald Trump is a serious threat to our country. In case you missed it, take a look at the video and share it with your Facebook friends:

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The Republican Party waited way too long to speak out against Donald Trump and his dangerous vision for America. I won’t make the same mistake – and I hope you won’t either.

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It makes a difference

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There are days in Washington that I want to tear my hair out. Days when I’m so frustrated over how hard it is to get anything done that I just want to spit.  

But then I’m reminded that the work we do together makes a real difference.

Six years ago this week, President Obama signed Dodd-Frank, the Wall Street reform bill that was a powerful step towards holding the big banks accountable. Now don’t get me wrong, Dodd-Frank wasn’t perfect – we still have more work to do to make sure the big banks don’t bring down our economy again.

But one thing we definitely got right was the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: a new government agency solely dedicated to making sure Wall Street can’t cheat people in the fine print of mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and other financial products.

The financial industry HATED the idea of the CFPB. It spent more than a million dollars a day lobbying against Wall Street reform.  But we fought back and won – and this week we celebrate the five-year anniversary of that little agency opening its doors.

Here’s a story that a man named Navid posted on the CFPB website.  

My name is Navid. I live in Washington, DC.

Me and my wife we decided to buy a home last year. We found an agent, we found a mortgage company. We started working with them. Initially, they wanted us to put $12,000 down as a contingency fee and all of this was very new to us, and we agreed to it. What we didn’t know, was that, this contract was written in a way that if we don’t get our loan approved within 15 days, we have the possibility of losing this money.

Just a few days prior to closing, we were informed that this loan was not going to go through.

We, in a very short period of time, lost $12,000.

So I was in touch the lender and also the lender’s supervisor several times. I have sent several e-mails, I have sent several emails, I have made several phone calls, and they were always ignored completely. They either, I would leave a message and never hear back were or I didn’t even have a chance to leave a message for anyone. And none of my e-mails were answered appropriately.

Two weeks passed by and one night and we were sitting and watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. And the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was a guest of Mr. Jon Stewart that night and he talked about this organization and what they do.

So I looked at my wife and said I think we should go ahead and complain – and see what happens.

And that single night after the show was over; I filed the complaint online, and to the official website. The next day, I got a response from the CFPB that we have got your complaint, and we’re gonna work through it.

I came home, 5 days after and I had a package in my mailbox. I opened it up, it was a formal apology letter from the mortgage company, with a check for $12,750. They paid for the inspection and appraisal fee that I have lost in the process and I didn’t ask for. They very formally apologized for what had happened. We were so surprised that we could have never thought this was going to happen.

I think it feels great, I’m an immigrant, and I came to the United States because this is a country where there are rules and regulations and it says the government is for the people.

This is why I chose this country, this country is probably the best place to live - on Earth.

And it’s just a wonderful feeling to know that there are parts of the United States government that are actually…their job is just to reach out to people and help them. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Navid’s story isn’t the only CFPB success story. To date, the CFPB has forced the big banks to return $11.7 billion directly to more than 27 million consumers who have been cheated.

There are lots more stories on the CFPB website. If you get a chance, take a look. These stories are starting — emphasize starting — to level the playing field between financial institutions and their customers.  

This is what we built — together. When I read these stories, I think Navid is right:  Making government work for us is a great feeling. 

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America's Agenda

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I spent most of my career studying what has happened to America's middle class and why working families are going broke. A few weeks ago, I gave a Powerpoint presentation on it at the Massachusetts Democratic Convention. At heart, I'm a pretty hard-core data nerd, and I love giving this type of talk.

The video here is long – 40 minutes – but if you care about the economic security of working families and what we can do to rebuild our middle class, I think you'll enjoy it.

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Why doesn't Donald Trump release his taxes?

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We don’t know what Donald Trump pays in taxes because he is the first Presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. But the last time Trump’s taxes were made public, he paid nothing – ZERO.

If Donald Trump doesn’t even believe in paying his fair share for the government, we shouldn’t put him in charge of the government. Watch my new video with MoveOn and ask your Fox News-loving uncle: Why do you pay your taxes but Donald Trump doesn’t?

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New Hampshire

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I had a terrific time at the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention on Saturday.

We’re ready to go to elect Maggie Hassan to the Senate, take back the Democratic majority, and beat Donald Trump this November.

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Orlando

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We mourn those lost in Orlando this weekend, and our heart goes out to the victims, families and loved ones touched by this horrific tragedy. As President Obama said: This was an act of terror and hate.

But we face a choice – as individuals, as a community, and as a country. A choice about whether to come together as one people and live our values, or a choice to splinter, turn on each other, and turn on our values in fear.

America is strongest when we are united. It is strongest when we celebrate our diversity. It is strongest when we promote those values abroad and live them here at home. When we love each other.

That’s the message of Pride. And that’s how we defeat hate, and how we protect America.

What I told the American Constitution Society

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Judge Gonzalo Curiel is one of countless American patriots who has spent decades quietly serving his country, sometimes at great risk to his own life. Donald Trump is a loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud who has never risked anything for anyone and serves nobody but himself.

Donald Trump should be ashamed for using the megaphone of a Presidential campaign to attack a judge’s character and integrity simply because he thinks he has some God-given right to steal people’s money and get away with it.

Last night, I spoke with the American Constitution Society, an organization of progressive lawyers, about why we cannot allow a small, insecure, thin-skinned wannabe tyrant or his allies in the Senate to destroy the rule of law in the United States of America.

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Massachusetts Democratic Party Convention

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On Saturday at the Massachusetts Democratic Party State Convention, I spoke about the big, loud, (and I mean LOUD) elephant in the room: Donald Trump.

I spoke about Trump's failed Trump University, and what kind of a man builds a business to profit off of other people’s pain. And I spoke about how proud I am to be a Democrat in this election – and how our Democratic values will beat Donald Trump.

Watch my speech about why the Democratic Party's vision for America will win in November.

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