U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, today issued the following statement responding to claims by Senate Democrats that the new consumer bureaucracy would not cover orthodontists and other small businesses offering customers a line of credit.
“Another day, another attempt by Democrats to mislead the American people about what they are up to as they force through another massive government takeover of large sectors of our economy.
“Democrats are attempting to quell opposition to the new consumer bureaucracy by telling small business owners that the bill excludes merchants, retailers, or other service providers.
“Democrats accurately state that their bill specifically excludes merchants, retailers, or others ‘not engaged significantly in offering or providing consumer financial products or services.’ What Democrats won’t tell you is that the word significantly is not defined.
“If your orthodontist, or doctor, or dentist lets you pay your bill over a series of months, they could be covered, depending on how the consumer protection czar defines the word significant.
“As I have repeatedly said, it is not what Democrats say about their bill that matters. What matters is what is in the language. And, in the language of the bill, the word significantly is not defined. That means every small business who offers credit as a matter of course can be subjugated to the supervision of the new consumer bureaucracy.
“Democrats are asking America’s small business owners to relax and trust them and the bureaucrats they empower. Republicans trust small business owners. That is why we oppose this enormous regulatory overreach.”
Here is the language:
(C) LIMITATION.—Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), the Bureau may not exercise any rulemaking, supervisory, enforcement, or other authority under this title with respect to a merchant, retailer, or seller of nonfinancial goods or services that is not engaged significantly in offering or providing consumer financial products or services.
Here is a link to the bill (see page 1116): http://banking.senate.gov/public/_files/TheRestoringAmericanFinancialStabilityActof2010AYO10732_xml0.pdf