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December 8, 2009 8:15 pm
The US House of Representatives took a step closer to passing a financial regulatory reform bill after lawmakers spent on Tuesday scrutinising a flurry of last-minute amendments.
New provisions that would change the direction of the Obama administration’s financial overhaul effort included an attempt to scrap a planned Consumer Financial Protection Agency and a proposal that money from the bank bail-out programme be used for mortgage relief.
Barack Obama, president, and the Treasury urged Congress to push forward quickly with reforming the financial system – the second priority for the president after a healthcare bill.
The House financial bill, which has been managed by Barney Frank, chairman of the House financial services committee, looks like being passed later this week.
But the precise form was still uncertain on Tuesday as the House rules committee met to decide which of 238 amendments submitted on Monday would be put to a vote. Most are Republican attempts to overturn the draft legislation, suggesting, for example, that an enhanced bankruptcy regime would be a better venue for winding up failing banks rather than a government-ordered process.
The rules committee was likely to throw most of those out, according to congressional aides from both parties, although Republicans argued that if some key proposals were denied a vote, the Democratic leadership would be guilty of adopting an unusually aggressive approach.
But most issues still to be decided in the House will come down to internal Democratic discussions. One key amendment to scrap the CFPA was proposed by moderate Democrats and led by Walt Minnick, a representative from Idaho.
Mr Minnick, who has the support of Republicans, wants to replace the CFPA with a looser council of existing regulators.
The CFPA is the White House’s most cherished element of reform but some Democrats and most Republicans believe it would be an unnecessary regulatory burden.
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