WASHINGTON -- Senate and House negotiators are likely to vote today or tomorrow on whether to exclude auto dealers from oversight by a proposed new consumer finance agency, a National Automobile Dealers Association spokesman said Monday.
The exclusion, which would be part of a sweeping financial regulation bill, has been supported by NADA and opposed by the White House and Pentagon, as well as groups of consumer advocates, military families and civil rights advocates.
The vote will be on whether to include in the bill the language of an amendment that had been offered unsuccessfully in the Senate by Kansas Republican Sam Brownback, said NADA spokesman Bailey Wood.
Under the Brownback amendment, dealers who help arrange consumer financing would be exempted from oversight by an independently funded agency in the Federal Reserve.
But the financial institutions that provide the direct financing to customers would be subjected to oversight, as would those dealerships that offer their own financing to customers.
“The Brownback amendment accomplishes what we need to accomplish,” said Wood, who also is a lobbyist for the 17,000-member organization.
The consumer agency, being formed in the wake of the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression, also would oversee mortgages, credit and debit cards and other financial products for consumers.
Under the Brownback plan, the proposed agency's military liaison office would coordinate with the federal agencies that now oversee dealers to ensure that military families' complaints about dealers would be addressed.
NADA is encouraged that the language of the Brownback amendment may be incorporated in the conference bill, which is using the legislation that passed the Senate as its base, Wood said.
The House passed a financial regulation bill that included an exemption for dealers, while the Senate legislation did not. The Brownback amendment was approved by the Senate only as a nonbinding guide to congressional negotiators.
Once 43 conferees agree on a bill, it will be submitted to the House and Senate for a final vote. It then will be forwarded to President Barack Obama for his signature.