By Vicki Needham - 03/17/10 03:53 PM EDT
In a preview of what is likely to be a flurry of amendments from Democrats and Republicans on the bill to overhaul banking rules, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday said he would offer amendments on the Senate floor to "limit credit card interest rates and discourage" secrecy at the Federal Reserve, two populist issues that could roil the congressional debate, according to the Wall Street Journal.
He said he would also push to create an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency, as opposed to a proposal by Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), which would put a new consumer protection division within the Fed.
The White House would likely oppose most of these measures, particularly the one related to more transparency of the Federal Reserve. But clash over the Fed’s transparency could lead to a messy fight on the Senate floor. Many Republicans and some Democrats have also called for more Fed scrutiny, and a similar provision championed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) easily passed in the House of Representatives in December.
"As long as the Federal Reserve is allowed to keep secrets about its loans, we will never know the true financial condition of the banking system," Sanders said. "The lack of transparency could lead to an even bigger crisis in the future."