Consumer agency gets mixed reaction

June 25, 2009 at 8:50 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 25 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama's proposed new consumer protection agency has split support in Washington and divided sentiment outside the beltway, reports show.

In Congress, Republicans have lined up against the proposal for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency that Rep. Jeb Hensarline, R-Texas said would allow "unelected bureaucrats" to take away choices for consumers.

"We must preserve economic liberty and consumer choice," he said.

Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., said the idea was part of an "Orwellian, heavy-handed, government-knows-best mentality."

But Democrats have been largely supportive, The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The Times traced the proposal to Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the government panel that is monitoring the government's $700 financial bailout.

"We need someone in Washington ... who looks at the products not from the point of view primarily of bank profitability, but what it means to families and the economy," Warren said.

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., has said he expects his committee to vote on the issue before the end of July.

Outside the capital, consumer groups are largely in favor of the idea, while Edward Yingling, president of the American Bankers Association, said banks were opposed.

With two regulators, banks "will be pushed and pulled," he said.

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