The following is an op-ed from Celeste Meiffren, field director for Illinois PIRG.
Since July 21, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,
or CFPB – a centerpiece of the 2010 Wall Street Reform and Consumer
Protection Act -- has been up and running. It’s the nation’s first
federal financial regulator with only one job—protecting consumers from
unfair financial practices. Yet, until the bureau has a director, it
does not gain all of its new authority to protect the public.
Action Now continued its aggressive pursuit for banks to maintain
foreclosed properties Tuesday morning, when they protested outside
Fannie Mae’s regional headquarters and demanded a meeting with Federal
Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Edward DeMarco.
Last week, FHFA
filed a lawsuit to exempt Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from Chicago’s
Vacant Property Ordinance, which requires that banks clean up and secure
the properties banks own due to foreclosure.
With the holiday season in full swing, the news is grim for hunger in
Chicago – more and more Cook County residents don’t know where the next
meal is coming from and food pantry donations are down.
Congress is scheduled to reauthorize the farm bill next year – and the
new legislation might include cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program, i.e. food stamps.
On Monday, hunger relief workers and
city officials testified at a City Council hearing on food
insecurity in Chicago, convened by the committees on Health and
Environmental Protections as well as Economic, Capital, and Technology
Large cuts within this year’s state budget are forcing more than half
of Illinois’ homeless prevention providers to make significant cuts to
their services over the next couple of months, according to a new
report released Monday.
More than 1,000 Chicago-area seniors and their allies took part in an act of civil disobedience today to push back against cuts to safety net programs, like Medicare and Social Security. The group rallied outside of the offices of U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D) and Mark Kirk (R) at Federal Plaza.
“I made the decision to participate in civil disobedience as an act of conscience," said Emily Byrd with the Jane Adams Senior Caucus (JASC). I could no longer stand idly by while vital safety net programs are in danger of being cut. What is at stake is not only seniors' ability to live with dignity and economic security, but the future of our country. I am here today to fight not just for seniors, but for my children and grandchildren.”