WASHINGTON -- The dealer lobby accused Senate negotiators of trying to slip an expansion of dealer oversight into a bill to create a consumer finance agency on the eve of a conference committee vote.
The National Automobile Dealers Association today urged the 43 House and Senate negotiators to oppose the Senate version and vote for the House approach.
The dealer lobby, which has largely gotten its way thus far, received a boost today from Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. He urged opposition to Senate changes “that would radically alter the original intention of a sensible bipartisan compromise.”
Both the Senate and House proposals would exempt dealers from supervision and enforcement by a new consumer finance agency lodged in the Federal Reserve -- in defiance of a request by President Barack Obama to avoid special exclusions.
But the Senate plan put forth by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., would allow the agency to write rules for dealers that involve credit discrimination, credit disclosure, financial privacy, and credit-report accuracy, the NADA letter said.
The Senate proposal “disregards the goal of the vast majority of Congress, which is to maintain the existing oversight which has provided millions of Americans an affordable way to finance a vehicle,” NADA spokesman Bailey Wood said.
The Senate version also would allow the Federal Trade Commission, which would continue to oversee dealers, the authority to waive certain reviews in writing rules that bar unfair and deceptive practices.
A spokesman for Dodd, the lead Senate negotiator as chairman of the banking committee, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The 43 conferees are due to vote this afternoon on whether to adopt the House or Senate approach, Wood said.
Last month, Brownback's proposal to exempt dealers from oversight by the new agency was approved 60-30 as a nonbinding recommendation to Senate negotiators.
The Brownback proposal's language was incorporated by House negotiators this week into the House conference proposal.
The consumer finance agency is part of a broader financial regulation package that has passed both the House and Senate.
The legislation agreed on in conference, likely by the end of this week or early next week, would then be submitted to the full House and Senate for final approval before being sent to Obama for his signature.