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Obama braces for GOP wrecking ball

Wednesday 5 January 2011 - by Will Henley

Barack Obama's White House administration is bracing itself for a testing legislative session ahead as a new influx of Republicans bent on repealing financial regulations take their seats on Capitol Hill today.

As President Obama returned to Washington from holiday in Hawaii he remarked to reporters that he expected the newly resurgent opposition backed by the anti-government Tea Party movement to play politics "for a certain period of time".

"That's what happens in Washington, the Republicans are going to play to their base for a certain period of time," he remarked.

Obama urged incoming House Republican Speaker John Boehner and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to put their differences aside and embrace bipartisanship.

Top of the agenda for Tea Party activists is a repeal of Obama's health reform bill, but some members have also set their sights on rolling back the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and associated regulations.

It was earlier revealed that Congressman Darrl Issa, the incoming Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has written to more than 150 companies and trade associations asking for regulations that should be repealed for the sake of the economy.

On Tuesday the US Treasury announced that the country's new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is to team up with state-level bank regulators to ensure coordinated state and federal supervision of consumer financial products and services.

The memorandum between the Bureau and Conference of State Bank Supervisors will enable "consistent" examination procedures and enforcement in state and federal consumer laws, it said in a statement.

"The new consumer financial agency and the state banking regulators are forging an alliance to protect American families," said Elizabeth Warren, Bureau special advisor to the Treasury.

"This agreement allows us to bring thousands of financial service providers out of the shadows and to begin the process of ensuring that all lenders comply with the same basic rules."

Thomas Gronstal, chairman of CSBS, added: "Today is an important day for financial supervision.

"The formalised coordination between the states and the federal government established by the MOU will do much to create a comprehensive and seamless system of financial supervision and is a step toward a more cooperative system of supervision, which will benefit consumers and financial services providers alike."

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