Five years ago today

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Five years ago today, I stood outside the Broadway T station in South Boston at the crack of dawn. I stuck out my hand to as many people as I could, and for the very first time I said: “Hi, I’m Elizabeth Warren, and I’m running for the United States Senate.”

Most people had no idea who I was and probably just wanted me to get out of the way so they could get on to work, but most of them smiled anyway—and a few wished me luck. It was a big day for me.

I never thought I’d get involved in politics. Never.  I’d spent decades as a law professor studying why working families were going broke. Running for the Senate was not on my bucket list, my shopping list, or any other list.

But there was so much at stake. Millions of families were going off an economic cliff, and it was getting worse. Washington worked great for anyone who could hire an army of lobbyists and lawyers, but not so much for anyone else. Could I really sit on the sidelines?

So five years ago today, I jumped in the fight. And here’s the most important thing: I didn’t jump in alone. I did it with people like you fighting right there by my side.

Washington can be a frustrating place. There are a lot of days that I think I may grind my teeth down to stubs. But today, I see more than ever how much government matters.

Congress decides who pays taxes and who gets to run through giant loopholes. Congress decides how much filth companies can pump into the air we breathe or the water we drink. Congress decides if our tax money will go to oil subsidies or rebuilding roads. And at every step in the decision process big corporations and their lobbyists are pushing the interests of the rich and powerful ahead of everyone else.

If we don’t fight, we can’t win – and it’s more important than ever to jump in those fights and level the playing field.

I’ve also learned that there’s a lot of law already out there – if someone would just pick it up and use it. When we push the Department of Education not to renew a lousy student loan company’s contract, we can help millions of kids struggling with their loans. When we question the head of a government agency in a hearing, we remind every regulator that they are there to serve the public, not the industry they are supposed to regulate. And when we fight for expanding Social Security or debt-free college or equal pay for equal work, we change the conversation here in Washington – and we move the needle just a little more in our direction.   

Five years later, I still believe that nobody in this country got rich on his own – nobody.

I still believe in what we can do together. I still believe in how many ways we can help build better chances for our kids and grandkids. And I still believe that this is our moment in history, the moment when we begin to build an even more extraordinary country where everyone gets a fighting chance.

Nowadays at a T station more people ask to take selfies – and now people tell me to “Keep fighting!”

Not to worry – I’ll keep fighting. You bet I will.

It is the greatest honor in the world to serve as the senior senator from Massachusetts and to fight for working families all across this country. Thanks for being a part of this fight.

Is this some sort of sick joke?

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Zika is a public health emergency, and Congress should be doing everything in its power to fight the disease right now.

But Congress has gone on recess. The Republican leadership won’t lift a finger. Instead, they have no plans to call us back to work before Labor Day – no chance to give our doctors, scientists, and public health officials the funding they need.

Each day that the Republicans stall, more and more people get sick from Zika. More babies risk being born with heartbreaking head deformities. More adults risk contracting an autoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system.

Tell Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell: We cannot wait any longer to protect Americans’ health. Bring Congress back to pass a clean bill to fund our country’s Zika response.

The Republican response to the Zika outbreak has been so unbelievable, it almost sounds like the plot of a movie. (A really, really bad movie.)

Back in February, President Obama requested that Congress approve $1.9 billion in emergency Zika funding. That’s the number that doctors, scientists and public health officials said they needed to fight the virus.

For months, the Republicans dragged their feet – until the night in June that House Democrats held their all-night sit-in for a vote on gun violence legislation. At 3:00 AM, while most people were sleeping, Speaker Ryan and the House Republicans jammed through a Zika funding bill – but one loaded with poison pills that he knew would never be passed into law.

Ryan pushed a pathetic, dishonest and flat-out malicious Zika bill:   

  • The GOP Zika bill would have stolen money from the Ebola response fund, even though we still have 75 Centers for Disease Control staff members on the ground fighting the Ebola outbreak.
  • The GOP Zika bill would have gutted the health care exchanges in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
  • The GOP Zika bill would have blocked Planned Parenthood from receiving birth control grant money.
  • The GOP Zika bill would have rolled back Clean Water Act requirements designed to keep pesticides out of Americans’ drinking water.
  • The GOP Zika bill would have cut Senate levels of Department of Veterans Affairs funding by $500 million – money for VA hospital maintenance and raises for VA doctors and nurses.
  • And get this: the GOP Zika bill even would have reversed a law that bans the Confederate flag from flying at veterans cemeteries.  

I didn’t think that the Republicans could write one bill to hurt women, veterans, Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, AND clean water all at once – while making it easier for racists to fly their flag – but they did it. And when Senate Democrats refused to pass such a sickening bill, the Republicans pointed fingers and said it’s the Democrats’ fault for refusing to compromise.

Last week, a Kentucky reporter asked Republican Leader Mitch McConnell why he wouldn’t just pass a clean bill to fund our country’s Zika response. McConnell said that’s just the way things are done in Washington.

Well that may be the Republican way of doing things in Washington – but that’s not OUR way.

Senate Democrats are ready to return to Washington to pass a Zika funding bill – but we need to turn up the pressure on the Republican majority to make it happen. Join us now and tell the Republicans to stop playing games with Americans’ health.

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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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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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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Donald Trump is the GOP Nominee

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Donald Trump is now the leader of the Republican Party. It's real – he is one step away from the White House. Here's what else is real:

Trump has built his campaign on racism, sexism, and xenophobia. There's more enthusiasm for him among leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls.

He incites supporters to violence, praises Putin, and, according to a columnist who recently interviewed him, is "cool with being called an authoritarian" and doesn't mind associations with history's worst dictators.

He attacks veterans like John McCain who were captured and puts our servicemembers at risk by cheerleading illegal torture. In a world with ISIS militants and leaders like North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un conducting nuclear tests, he surrounds himself with a foreign policy team that has been called a "collection of charlatans," and puts out contradictory and nonsensical national security ideas one expert recently called "incoherent" and "truly bizarre."

What happens next will test the character for all of us – Republican, Democrat, and Independent. It will determine whether we move forward as one nation or splinter at the hands of one man's narcissism and divisiveness. I know which side I'm on, and I’m going to fight my heart out to make sure Donald Trump’s toxic stew of hatred and insecurity never reaches the White House.

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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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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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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.

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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