INTERVIEW-Rep Frank: Fed as consumer watchdog home a “joke”

March 2, 2010

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) – Representative Barney Frank, chief architect of financial reform in the U.S. Congress, told Reuters on Tuesday he “thought it was a joke” when he learned key senators were discussing putting a new financial consumer watchdog inside the Federal Reserve.

“I thought it was a joke at first, to be honest, with all this denunciation of the Fed,” Frank said in an interview.

“If that’s the price of a Republican deal, then it’s not a good deal and the House wouldn’t accept it,” he said.

President Barack Obama’s plan to set up an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) to regulate mortgages and credit cards has been the main obstacle for weeks to a bipartisan Senate compromise on financial reform.

Senate Banking Committee Christopher Dodd, a Democrat, is discussing putting the watchdog inside the Fed as a possible compromise with Republicans, who oppose an independent agency. (Reporting by Kevin Drawbaugh; Editing by Dan Grebler) ((, +1 202 898 8390, +1 202 488 3459 (fax))) h

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