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Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2005

Location: Washington, DC


The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Bradley of New Hampshire). Pursuant to House Resolution 770 and rule XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the further consideration of the bill, H.R. 5025.


Mr. GUTIERREZ. Mr. Chairman, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Sherman).

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Illinois, the home of the greatest Republican President of the United States, for yielding me this time.

I hearken back to the Grand Old Party that gave us Teddy Roosevelt and reflect on how far that party has fallen in the area of consumer protection, to the point where we now have the most anticonsumer administration in the history of this country, an administration so dedicated to stripping away all protections for consumers, so dedicated to unbridled corporate power, that they would trample on other values they claim to hold dear, all in an effort to expose consumers to some of the worst practices in the home mortgage market.

The Grand Old Party claims to care about States' rights, and then they use the power of renegade regulators to strip away all State authority to protect consumers in home mortgage lending situations, when our land law and our mortgage law has traditionally been a matter of State jurisdiction. They claim to care about democracy, but instead of this major decision being made by the elected representatives of the people, it is made in the bowels of the bureaucracy.

The gentleman from Oklahoma correctly points out that the committee of jurisdiction should be focused on this, but instead, a party dedicated to corporate power does not deal with this in the Committee on Financial Services where the gentleman from Illinois and I both sit.

Mr. Chairman, there is one other value that is trampled on, and that is the value of fair market competition. Because what this OCC regulation does is it says that if you are a national bank, you do not have to abide by any of the State laws. But if you are one of one-half of the banks that is State chartered, well, then, you do. And frankly, some of those laws are rather Draconian. So it provides a very unfair advantage to one-half of the competitors, particularly the largest ones.

Finally, it creates a race to the bottom among bank regulators. Now, the national banks are exempt from consumer regulation, so what do the State regulators do if they want market share, if they want to stay in business, if they want to have any banks to regulate? The pressure is on them: Race to the bottom.

What we need instead is to get rid of this regulation, to return to a democratic process in which States can protect consumers and where, if we are going to have national standards, they are established by a Congress not looking to strip away all consumer protection but rather a Congress looking to provide a reasonable level of consumer protection and a reasonable level of access to credit.

It is time to rein in the renegade regulators. One would have thought that the folks on the other side of the aisle would be saying just that.

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