The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

March 2, 2014

How They Voted: week ending Feb. 28

WASHINGTON — Here's how area members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending Feb. 28.

House

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Voting 232 for and 182 against, the House on Feb. 27 passed a Republican bill (HR 3193) to reduce the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bill enables the Financial Stability Oversight Council in the Treasury Department to veto the bureau's proposed regulations by simple majority vote rather than the two-thirds majority now required. The bill also would replace the bureau's director with a five-person governing body and subject its budget to the congressional appropriations process.

Established by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law, the bureau has authority to write and enforce pro-consumer rules for retail banks, home-mortgage lenders, student and payday lenders, credit cards and other firms that sell financial services to households and individuals. The bureau is barred from regulating auto dealerships or banks with less than $10 billion in assets. It is based in the Federal Reserve while operating independently with a budget derived from fees and a chairman nominated by the president and subject to Senate confirmation.

Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said: "We do need consumer protection, but consumers just don't need to be protected from Wall Street — they need to be protected from Washington as well."

Mike Quigley, D-Ill., referred to the 2007-2008 financial crisis and said: "How quickly some forget. ... (The bill) is either a bad case of congressional amnesia or an attack on the most important financial reform of a generation."

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it is likely to die.

Voting yes: John Kline, R-2, Erik Paulsen, R-3, Michele Bachmann, R-6, Collin Peterson, D-7, Rick Nolan, D-8

Voting no: Tim Walz, D-1, Betty McCollum, D-4, Keith Ellison, D-5

Not voting: None

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