[StBernard] Congressional power shift hits small business

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Thu Nov 6 23:44:03 EST 2008

Congressional power shift hits small business

November 6, 2008

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd announced Thursday he
will stay on as head of that panel and not seek chairmanship of the Senate
Foreign Relations committee -- a position left vacant with Sen. Joseph
Biden's election to the White House.

The Senate Banking Committee is the committee of jurisdiction for the Senate
version of the Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act.

Connecticut Sen. Dodd told NationalJournal.com his priorities will be
oversight of the $700 billion rescue fund for financial firms and to quickly
advance president-elect Barack Obama's appointments. That bailout package
contains significant benefits for small business owners and the committee
directly responsible for the health of the country's small businesses could
soon be headed up by a long time rent-to-own ally.

With Dodd retaining chairmanship of the Senate Banking, Sen. John Kerry of
Massachusetts will likely take the gavel on the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee. However, to do so, Kerry would then have to give up his
chairmanship of the Small Business Committee, a position which could be
taken by Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana -- lead Senate sponsor of Consumer
Rental Purchase Agreement Act.

On the House side, APRO congressional sources report that Republican
rent-to-own co- sponsor Rep. Spencer Bachus (AL-6) could step down from the
House Financial Services Committee -- the committee of jurisdiction for
rent-to-own legislation in the House.

Sources indicate his replacement may be Republican Rep. David Dreier
(CA-26), currently the ranking Republican member of the House Rules
Committee. If Dreier -- who has no history with the rent-to-own industry --
replaces Bachus, Dreier would then become the ranking Republican member of
the House Financial Services Committee.

In addition, Congressional Quarterly reports that Republican Rep. Roy Blunt
(MO-7) is resigning as House Minority Whip. Blunt voted against rent-to-own
legislation in 2002.

"This shift in power dictates how much support Sen. Schumer, Sen. Landrieu
or Rep. Clay has in the next session and how much support for this
legislation exists," said APRO Public Affairs Director Richard May. "This
shift in power also dictates a shift in our grassroots strategy to address
these new leaders of Congress."

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