Pence breaks tie to nix Obama-era consumer arbitration rule
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Vice President Pence joined with Senate Republicans to nix a controversial consumer bureau rule banning companies from using forced settlements to resolve disputes with customers.
 
 
Pence then took over the presiding officer's chair and cast the tie-breaking vote to make the total 51-50. 
 
Republicans used the Congressional Review Act, which gives them 60 legislative days to repeal an executive branch rule after it's finalized with a simple majority. 
 
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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's rule would ban banks and credit card companies from using clauses in customer contracts that protect them from class-action lawsuits. 
 
So-called forced arbitration clauses require customers to resolve any disputes with the firm through a third-party mediator and bans them from suing the company.
 
Democrats argue nixing the rule would be a boon to Wall Street and financial institutions, who have warned that the regulation could force them to spend money on costly lawsuits. 
 
 
Democrats on Tuesday spoke on the Senate floor for hours against the rule. 
 
 
 
Brown, wrapping up the Democrats' floor speeches, noted that Pence had just arrived in the Capitol. 
 
"The vice president only shows up in this body when the rich and powerful need him," he said. 
 
The rule forces companies to write arbitration clauses in ways that would not prevent consumers from joining class-action lawsuits. Republicans and business groups have criticized the rule, claiming it would help no one but trial lawyers. 
 
 
"Not everybody can afford to be O.J. Simpson and hire the very best lawyers in America and to try a case for weeks on end at a cost of millions of dollars," he added. 
 
The Treasury Department and Comptroller of the Currency have also criticized the rule, warring with CFPB Director Richard Cordray and top Democratic lawmakers in op-eds and interviews.
 
Cordray knocked lawmakers after the vote, saying, "Wall Street won and ordinary people lost."
 
"This vote means the courtroom doors will remain closed for groups of people seeking justice and relief when they are wronged by a company. It preserves a two-tiered justice system where banks can have their day in court but deny their customers the same right. ... I urge President Trump to stand with consumers and veto this resolution," he said in a statement.
 
A Treasury Department analysis of the rule released earlier this week argued the measure would lead to 3,000 more class-action suits over the next five years.
 
The CFPB said Treasury's report "rehashes industry arguments” that were ”solidly refuted in the final rule."
 
Tuesday's vote was widely expected to come down to a handful of moderate GOP senators. In addition to Kennedy and Graham, GOP Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski says she’ll wait until Ford testifies before making decision on Kavanaugh Alaska gov, lieutenant gov come out against Kavanaugh The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh MORE (Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGrassley panel scraps Kavanaugh hearing, warns committee will vote without deal Collins 'appalled' by Trump tweet about Kavanaugh accuser Poll: More voters oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination than support it MORE (Maine) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGraham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (Ohio) did not say ahead of time how they would vote.