Gibbs warns Congress not to soften consumer financial protection

The White House is concerned by lawmakers' moves to scale back the size and reach of it proposed consumer financial protection agency, press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

Gibbs chided House Democrats who have weakened the proposed consumer watchdog, but stopped short of issuing a veto threat for the bill as it's currently drafted.

"This is a big concern of the president's and a big concern of the administration," Gibbs said about the scaling-back of the proposal, driven by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

"The president would not sign any bill that he thought was too weak," Gibbs later added when asked if President Barack Obama would veto the bill if he thought it were too weak.

Under Frank's changes, the new agency would not regulate as wide a range of financial products, and would lose the power to mandate that financial-services providers offer "plain vanilla" options to consumers. Such options are considered less risky and more conservative for investors, but potentially less profitable for firms.

"The president believes that strongly and believes that in the end of the day we'll have a strong consumer finance protection agency working on behalf of the American people," Gibbs said. "We're confident that it will be in a final bill that he's able to sign."

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