GOP Opposes Consumer Agency as 'New EPA'

Senate Repubs resist independent agency as a business-killer
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2010 5:56 AM CST
Sen. Tim Johnson, D-SD., Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-CT., Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, and Sen. Robert Bennett, R-UT, during a banking committee session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 17, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – Get ready for a bruising showdown over the consumer protection agency the Democrats are trying to create: GOP senators are pledging to kill a standalone body, which is critical to the Dems' plan. A strong, independent CFPA is anathema, says Utah Republican Robert Bennett: "Can you say EPA?" Bennett and allies see the EPA as a model of business-harming regulatory excess, and are determined to bring the proposed CFPA under the auspices of a larger agency to prevent it from doing likewise.

Dems and consumer advocates don't want the CFPA to end up like the EPA, either: "I want the CFPA to be a tough, independent watchdog for consumers," House Dem Brad Miller tells the Huffington Post. "My worst nightmare is a CFPA headed by some embarrassing yes-man like [Bush EPA administrator] Stephen Johnson. How much more slavish to polluters did Republicans want the EPA to be?" But CFPA sponsor Chris Dodd will likely have to compromise on the agency's strength and independence to get the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster, observers say.

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