By Mark Kleis
Thursday, May 27th, 2010 @ 4:54 pm
 
Leftlane has been tracking the progress of a new bill that is intended to increase federal oversight for banks and institutions nationwide - including auto dealers - since April 27th when representatives from auto dealers headed to Washington to plead their cases.

The bill in question gained momentum as the Pentagon became involved due to reports of veterans returning from duty being taken advantage of by auto dealers with outrageous and deceptive terms on car loans. As a result, both Congress introduced language in the bill that would set to regulate auto dealers much in the same way as traditional lending firms, such as banks.

Now, according to Detroit News, the Obama administration has indicated that it will continue to push for the legislation to include dealers, despite dealers arguing that it will hurt sales. The U.S. Senate either agreed with the dealers, or they agreed with the lobbying currently taking place, as they voted 60-30 to approve the exception for auto dealers from a sweeping new financial reform bill.

Representing the Obama administration, Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin explained the President's stance during a speech in Baltimore, "The issue is simple: We have no interest in interfering with car dealers' ability to sell cars. But where car dealers act like banks or like other non-bank financial companies, they should be subject to the same consistent rules of the road."

"As conferees begin the process of reconciling the remaining differences in the two bills, we will continue to fight for the strongest financial reform bill possible," Wolin said. "And we will oppose any attempts by particular interests to use the conference process as an opportunity to weaken the final bill," he added, according to Reuters.

Auto dealers argue the practices being outlined by the Department of Defense's investigations were already against the law, and as such, were isolated cases which were already going to be handled by existing laws - thus making further legislation redundant and cumbersome for dealers - only decreasing their ability to stimulate the economy through sales.

Of the U.S.'s roughly 18,000 auto dealers, approximately 250 were present to lobby Congress last week, which according to Detroit News, is a practice that has resulted in $25 million in donations to Congressmen and women since 1990.

References
1.'Obama administration wants auto...' view
2.'U.S. Treasury vows fight for...' view