Alexander: “Take Main Street Lending Out of the Financial Regulation Bill”

“It looks like we’re about to start regulating your daughter’s dentist bill, the plumber, the store owners up and down Main Street who give you flexible credit. That’s going to make credit harder to get.” – Lamar Alexander

Posted on May 6, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate regarding the Shelby Amendment (#3826), of which he is a cosponsor, to the financial regulation bill that would strengthen consumer protections without unnecessarily expanding government or burdening Main Street businesses:

  • “In this financial regulation bill, instead of dealing with the high jinks of big banks, we’re going to take over Main Street lending and on top of it create a new czar or czarina to make decisions about millions of transactions across America that are on Main Street . . . Republicans would like to say, ‘Let’s take Main Street lending out of it.’”
  • “It looks like we’re about to start regulating your daughter’s dentist bill, the plumber, the store owners up and down Main Street who give you flexible credit.  That’s going to make credit harder to get because the dentist or the plumber or the store owner is going to say, ‘I’m not going to fool with it.  I don’t want to be regulated by some Washington bureau, so if you want to buy my goods, go to the bank and get some money or get another credit card.’  And you know what that’s going to do?  That’s going to slow down the economy.  That’s going to make jobs harder to create because it’s going to make credit harder to obtain and credit harder to offer.”
  • “If our real intention in this body on both sides of the aisle is to not interfere with Main Street lending, then let’s actually do that.  That’s what the Republican amendment—which we hope becomes bipartisan—does.”
  • “Then there’s the second big idea that’s in this Republican amendment so far as I’m concerned—we don’t need another czar.  This bill is supposed to be about big banks, about financial high jinks on Wall Street, about this recession that we’re in and about issues that will change the regulations in a sensible way that will avoid as many future recessions as possible and, at the same time, about creating an environment in which we can grow the largest number of good new jobs.  But suddenly, we have this new Washington agency not only possibly regulating Main Street lending but creating an unaccountable person at the top to write the rules and regulations.”

The amendment was defeated by a vote of 38-61, largely along party lines.