November 07, 2013

Senator Warren at NCLC: "There are still too many places where armies of lobbyists are fighting to rig the system"

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Washington, DC – Today at the National Consumer Law Center’s (NCLC) Consumer Rights Litigation Conference, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered remarks on major improvements made over the last few years in consumer protection and the areas where the playing field is still rigged against hard-working, middle class families. The senator also made the case for government’s role in protecting consumers.

“When was the last time you heard someone call for regulators to go easier on companies that want to use lead paint on our children’s toys or leave the safety switches off toasters?” asked Senator Warren, highlighting the critical work of agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration protecting consumers. “There are a lot of regulatory successes, and a lot of people are alive today because of the basic rules of the road NCLC and others have fought for.  But there are still too many places where the world remains complicated and opaque.  There are still too many places where armies of lobbyists are fighting to rig the system so that the public remains in the dark.”

Senator Warren used the recent debate on gun control as an example of the National Rifle Association and gun industry lobby trying to keep the public in the dark to slow down efforts against gun violence, even as this “epidemic kills our children, our friends, our neighbors.” She also pointed to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which lets “corporations spend as much money as they pleased on elections, [and] unleashed a powerful group of millionaires and billionaires who could spend hundreds of millions of dollars to influence outcomes—all in secret.”

The senator thanked NCLC for its work on behalf of families all across the country. “We can take steps to level the playing field,” said the senator. “We have succeeded in so many critical areas in the past, and I know we will succeed again in the future.  Reform isn’t easy, but when we succeed – when we increase transparency and fight for fairness - we get safer and we get stronger.”