WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama plans to sign whatever financial-regulation bill emerges from Congress, even if it contains an exemption for auto dealers from oversight by a new consumer finance agency, a White House spokesman said.
Obama has opposed this dealer exemption.
“The president vowed to fight efforts to weaken this bill and find ways to strengthen it, which is why he opposes carve-outs like this one that would exempt auto-dealer lenders from new consumer protections,” White House spokesman Matthew Lehrich said in a statement today.
He added: “While we knew that we'd not win every fight, the president will soon sign into law historic Wall Street reform that includes the strongest consumer protections ever.”
House and Senate negotiators hope to wrap up a compromise measure today that they will send to the full House and Senate for a final vote next week before it goes to Obama.
House and Senate negotiators have agreed on proposals that will largely exempt dealers from oversight by a consumer-finance agency to be housed in the Federal Reserve.
Negotiators for both chambers have agreed that the new agency will neither supervise dealers nor enforce rules affecting them.
A Senate proposal pending in conference would give the new agency authority to write some rules affecting dealers. The Federal Trade Commission, which now oversees dealers, also would be able to write some rules without customary reviews.
Obama took the unusual step of personally speaking out against the dealer exemption in May.
It “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,” the president said in a May 12 statement. “Unfortunately, countless families – particularly military families – have been the target of these deceptive practices.”