Citizen Health & Safety
Stealth Bill Aims To Cripple New Consumer Agency
By Katherine McFate and Robert Weissman
Published September 17, 2012
The Hartford Courant
The signature achievement of the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection and Wall Street Reform Act was the creation of a new consumer financial protection agency. Predictably, the big banks would like to see the agency neutered.
A proposal moving quickly through the Senate threatens to do just that. The Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 2012 aims to inhibit the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other agencies from issuing rules to clamp down on bank rip-offs and other corporate wrongdoing. The proposed legislation would require independent agencies — those that do not report to the president — to jump over a series of hurdles before issuing new rules, and to submit their proposed rules for review to a corporate-friendly office in the White House.
The legislation is now under consideration in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, headed by Sen. Joseph Lieberman. In a committee known for its deliberative approach, this complex and dangerous legislation is on course for a fast-tracked vote in Congress' lame-duck session, following the November election, without even one hearing to examine its consequences for families in Connecticut and the country. This hurried process could boost the bill's chances for passage in the end-of-session frenzy. Hopefully, Sen. Lieberman will put the brakes on rushed consideration of this misguided proposal.