Obama Issues Fresh Threats Against GOP Over Financial Reform

Posted May 12, 2010 at 1:18pm

President Barack Obama fired another warning shot at Senate Republicans on Wednesday over their efforts to weaken consumer protections in financial reform legislation.

Obama railed against “lobbyist-inspired loopholes and special carve-outs” in an amendment set for a vote this week by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) that would exempt auto dealers from new bureaucratic oversight.

“This amendment guts provisions that empower consumers with clear information that allows them to make the financial decisions that work best for them and simply encourages misleading sales tactics that hurt American consumers,” he said.

The president said critics of financial reform legislation who say it unfairly targets auto dealers are “simply mistaken” since auto dealer-lenders make nearly 80 percent of automobile loans.

“These lenders should be subject to the same standards as any local or community bank that provides loans,” he said.

Obama stopped short of a veto threat, but his explicit warning is the second one in the past week over the GOP push to water down safeguards for consumers in the name of protecting businesses. Last week, the president criticized a failed effort by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) to substantially scale back the powers of a proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency.