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Washington
Congress will resume reg reform debate after July 4 break
WASHINGTON (6/29/09)--Following the Independence Day district work period, Congress is expected to resume its work on financial regulatory restructuring with House Financial Services Committee hearings on the role of the Federal Reserve, derivatives, and general testimony from financiers and leading academics tentatively scheduled for the coming weeks. The committee has not yet published witness lists for these hearings. The committee began discussion of the regulatory reforms this past week, with Troubled Asset Relief Program oversight panel chair Elizabeth Warren saying that the creation of the proposed consumer financial protection agency would undeniably "help fix the broken credit market." During the hearing, Warren spoke in favor of so-called "plain vanilla" financial products and disclosures that could ultimately result in cheaper compliance costs for lenders and fewer oversight responsibilities for regulators. It is widely reported that U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner could soon release further details on a proposed consumer protection agency. Congress also held hearings on integrating improvements to financial literacy and education into the larger financial regulatory reform package during the week. House Financial Services chair Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) last week said that the committee would continue to discuss consumer protections following the district work period, adding that related legislation should be marked up in late July. While Frank said that the final regulatory reform legislation would take the form of one all-encompassing bill, each piece of that legislation will be discussed and marked up separately by his committee.


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