The Catholic University of America

Lawmakers to Turn Their Attention to Protecting Consumers

In bailout terms, the fat lady has already sung.

Congress' recent passage of a $750-billion economic stimulus bill completes its "big picture" response to the nation's recessionary woes, according to CUA law alumnus Andrew Miller, 1995, senior counsel to the Committee on Financial Services of the U.S. House of Representatives.

"There is really not much going on today on the legislative front," Miller remarked.

What is left for Congress to do now, after responding to beseeching requests for bailout funds from various sectors of the nation's economy, is to turn its attention to more specific protections for consumers, according to Miller.

His comments came on March 16 at the Columbus School of Law, where he was invited by the Securities Law Program and the Securities Law Students Association to address "The Congressional Response to the Financial Meltdown: What Has Been Done? What Will the New Regulatory System Look Like?"

Miller, until recently a vice president and deputy general counsel at Fannie Mae, said lawmakers are well aware of the general public disgust at using so much taxpayer money to cover the poor decisions and sloppy business practices of banks, mortgage lenders and other key players in the financial services industry.

For that reason, he predicts that Congress will now focus more specifically on reforming mortgage lending and credit card practices, both of which have hit consumers hard in the wallet.

"There is absolutely no political support [on Capitol Hill] for another dime to go to the financial services industry unless Congress sees it benefitting the little guy," said Miller, who emphasized that his opinions were his own and not necessarily those of the congressional committee he works for.

Miller took questions from the student audience and afterward attended a reception in his honor.