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Obama Administration: Hands Off Dodd-Frank; Help Wanted

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The Obama administration is blasting Republican talk about rolling back the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee said Monday at a meeting organized by Reuters that, if the Republicans get control over the Senate in November, he would like to revisit much of the act.

One section he mentioned revisiting is the provision that created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an arm of the Federal Reserve Board. The bureau will have no regulatory authority over the business of insurance, but some of its offices, such as the bureau’s Office of Financial Literacy, could end up with some kind of dealings with products such as annuities.

Other Republicans also have talked about amending the Dodd-Frank Act.

Jen Psak, the White House deputy communications director, says in a White House blog entry that Shelby wants to go back to a time when “consumers were without a voice at the table.”

“One cause of the financial crisis and the Lost Decade for the middle class was the unscrupulous practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders, who reaped billions at the expense of consumers from hidden fees and penalties,” Psak says in the blog entry. “That’s why the president fought so hard for the new CFPB…. But now the man who would be chair of the Senate Banking Committee says that if Republicans win control of the Senate, he will work to gut these new consumer protections.”

Psak is accusing congressional Republicans of “standing up for the interests of big banks and their lobbyists.”

In related news, the U.S. Treasury Department has started moving ahead with implementing a Dodd-Frank provision that many large life insurers like – a provision creating a Federal Insurance Office (FIO) at the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Domestic Finance. The department has posted a want ad for the FIO director position.

Federal Vacancy Number 2010-090RD is a permanent, full-time position that will pay a salary

from $119,554 to $179,700 per year.

A successful candidate should have the business acumen to “manage human, financial, and information resources strategically” and the people skills to “build coalitions internally and with other federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals,” officials say in the want ad. The FIO director will get health insurance, life insurance and a chance to buy long term care insurance. Applications are due Oct. 20.


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