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Public Statements

Wall Street Reform And Consumer Protection Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WATT. Madam Chair, I yield myself 3 1/2 minutes.

Madam Chair, let me say at the outset it is my intention at the end of a short discussion to ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment, but I thought it would be enlightening to colleagues and to whoever else might be listening at this time in the morning to talk about some of the practical problems that you have even when there's broad agreement on an issue.

And I will describe the process. Both Mr. Campbell, who is a member of the committee, and I agree that automobile dealers ought to be exempt in their primary duties from the CFPA, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency supervision and what have you. There was broad bipartisan and philosophical agreement on that general proposition in the committee when Mr. Campbell offered his amendment, and there was broad agreement that there were some practical problems with the way the amendment was written; and the chairman delegated to me and to Mr. Campbell the responsibility to try to find the right language. We set about trying to do that, and we have been diligently trying to do that.

Then the practical problems intervened. Other people get their fingers in the pot and suggest different issues that need to be resolved. Mr. Campbell and I, on a Friday night, with him in California and me in North Carolina on our cell phones, have a conversation, and we are right at the verge of reaching an agreement, we think, and we are quibbling about words. Then he gets called away to the USC football game the next day, and I get called away the following day to the Carolina Panthers football game. And then we are right up against the deadline.

Then we find out that the chairman has offered a manager's amendment that deals with part of the problem, but not all of it. We both submitted amendments to the Rules Committee. Mr. Campbell withdraws his amendment, mine is still standing, and we are still talking about the amendment.

And then the automobile dealers, because they don't like my amendment, decide that they need to lobby against it and make it sound as if I'm opposed to what I was in favor of all along.

So we've been at this for a long time.

And finally, yesterday, Mr. Campbell and I sat down and talked again and decided that we should not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. What we have in the bill with the manager's amendment substantially advances the process. We are not the end of the process anyway. The Senate is going to have to deal with this. And both of us are still intent on the philosophy that automobile dealers ought to be exempt from CFPA. We agree on that. And so here we are, and we thought it would be helpful to have this dialogue.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.


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