Business Groups, AICPA Support Consumer Protection, Criticize Current Proposal


The AICPA and 22 other business and professional organizations joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday to voice concerns over provisions of a bill in the House of Representatives that would create a new regulatory agency charged with consumer protection.

 

The groups asked House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D- Mass., to delay action on the bill until its implications could be thoroughly studied.

 

On Tuesday Frank said his committee would wait until after the August recess to vote on the legislation.

 

The Chamber of Commerce welcomed the delay in a press release on Wednesday. “We will support efforts to insure consumers have the information they need and are protected from predatory and other illegal practices,” said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness. “We will oppose efforts that fail to address the weaknesses of our current regulatory structure by simply adding new layers of government. We look forward to working with Congress on a plan that is clear and will actually help consumers.”

 

In its letter to Frank on Monday, the Chamber of Commerce said that “the scope of [HR 3126] is very broad, granting unprecedented power and authority to a new agency with very few checks on that agency’s power.”

 

The letter pointed out that there are numerous questions that have not been sufficiently answered regarding which entities and types of business activities are covered by the legislation and that the intended benefits to consumers of many of the bill’s provisions are unclear.
 

In regard to its request for the House to take more time, the letter said “there needs to be adequate time for all stakeholders … to fully understand this bill’s implications, how it will impact consumers and their access to credit, the true costs of creating such an agency, and whether a new stand-alone consumer protection agency is necessary or whether enhancing the regulatory power of existing regulators can accomplish the same goal.”

 

The concept of a consumer protection agency was a key component of the regulatory reform plan announced by the Obama administration in June.

 

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