Carper defends preemption amendment amid White House criticism

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) on Thursday defended an amendment to Wall Street overhaul legislation, saying that without his proposed change the Democratic legislation would "weaken" the power of a new consumer bureau of financial protection.

Carper is the main sponsor of an amendment designed to ensure federal standards and oversight on consumer financial protection regulations. The Obama administration said Thursday it is opposed to the amendment, arguing that it undermines the ability of states to pursue tougher regulations than the federal government. The administration and most Democrats have pushed for allowing states to go beyond the federal standards.

Carper said his amendment retains current law.

Carper's amendment is supported by 10 Senate Democrats and Republicans. Carper said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd's (D-Conn.) financial legislation would limit the power of a new consumer financial protection agency and hand over power to states instead.

Here is Carper's statement in full:

As a former governor, I believe strongly in state rights. However, there are times when it’s not always wise to have 50 different states weighing in on what’s best. It’s important to note that my bipartisan amendment is supported by 5 former Governors and I think that’s a strong statement that this does not hinder states’ ability to protect consumers.

I support creating a new Consumer Protection Bureau to guard against unfair and deceptive lending practices.  All my amendment says is that we should make that bureau do its job. This is the cop on the beat that we need. Consumers benefit from a national banking system that has uniform standards. The Dodd legislation, unfortunately, would weaken that bureau and hand over its enforcement tools to the states. This would only create more confusion that would inadvertently hurt consumers. 

My amendment is a sound compromise that would establish clear lines of responsibility at the federal and state level. Also, my amendment would allow state attorneys general to maintain their current powers under existing law to enforce bankruptcy laws, debt collection protections, and unfair and deceptive practice statutes that consumers rely on to make sure they’re not being taken advantage of by bad actors.”