Snowe, Landrieu offer amendment to exempt small businesses from new regulations

An amendment to exempt certain small businesses from additional regulations under a proposed consumer protection agency could help pave the way for agreement on the unresolved provisions. 

Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and the panel's ranking member Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) have teamed up to limit the scope of the planned Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ensuring that businesses such as dentists aren't wrapped into new regulations. 

Although Snowe said her amendment wouldn't completely allay her concerns about the consumer protection agency provisions but it's a good step forward. 

"Hopefully it will draw broad support," she told The Hill on Tuesday. "I think it would be widely supported in the Senate."

Tweaking the section could help mitigate some Republican and moderate Democrat concerns that the new consumer agency goes too far and would affect anyone dealing in consumer credit. 

She's trying to get a vote on that amendment soon and she was "hopefully there's enough time to take it up."

A second amendment aimed at small businesses would apply the Regulatory Flexibility Act to the proposed consumer protection bureau, providing a better gauge of how the regulations are affecting small businesses and ensuring regulations are applied fairly, she said. 

The new regulations could "suffocate small businesses with paperwork" so oversight is needed to avoid those unintended consequences, she said. 

The first amendment would exempt small businesses if they sell nonfinancial products, don't securitize consumer debt and are classified within the North American Industry Classification System code's definition of a "small business."