By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia issued a written statement Wednesday criticizing new federal regulations that could prevent stay-at-home moms and other spouses who earn less than their husband or wife from qualifying for credit.
During a House Financial Services Committee subcommittee hearing, Bachus called the rule “discriminatory.” Rep. Bachus announced that he supports proposed legislation protecting stay-at-home moms and other responsible users of credit who would be affected by the sweeping new rules.
Rep. Bachus said, “No one imagined that the regulators would draft rules that discriminate against stay-at-home spouses. No one imagined that moms and dads who stay home to take care of their children while their husbands and wives go off to paid jobs would be denied access to credit because of their choices. We must change the rules.”
The new Federal Reserve rule requires lenders to consider individual income instead of household income when they determine who qualifies for a credit card. For example, a husband who makes $80,000 a year as a CPA could get a credit card in his name. His wife, who is staying home to care for the couple’s kids, could not get a credit card in her name even though the household has plenty of income and a good credit history. Arguably this could also apply to households making ten or more times that amount.
Prior to the passage of the 2009 Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, stay-at-home spouses used household incomes to apply for credit cards in their own names by citing their household incomes.
The Fed acknowledges that their rules will prevent many spouses from being able to apply for credit cards because they lack an independent income, however authority to amend and enforce the Federal Reserve’s new rules is held by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was created by Title X of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Dodd-Frank Act gives the CFPB enormous power, while limiting the amount of oversight that the U.S. Congress has over the new agency. The CFPB’s $448 million budget for example comes directly from the Federal Reserve and is not set or limited by the Congressional budget process. The Dodd-Frank Act and the CARD Act were both passed in the first half of the Obama Administration when Democrats still held the majority of seats in both Houses of Congress.
Rep. Bachus is the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services.
Congressman Bachus represents Alabama’s 6th Congressional District. He is seeking his eleventh term in the United States House of Representatives. He is opposed in the November 6th General Election by retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Penny Huggins Bailey from Leeds.
To read Congressman Bachus’ statement: