Financial Regs Bill a Jobs Killer? WH Says: No Worries

Days before a Chamber of Commerce economic summit, President Obama's aides shrugged off warnings that proposed new financial regulations would be a jobs-killer, as Democrats appeared to have lined up enough GOP support to pass the measures in the Senate.

Republican Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Olympia Snowe of Maine signaled Monday they would back the Senate financial overhaul bill, boosting its chances of passing this week. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, also has said she will vote for the legislation.

That would give Democrats the 60 votes needed to get the bill through the senate, Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska said Monday he was still reviewing the bill before deciding whether to vote for it. He voted for an earlier version of the bill.

Buoyed by the likely support, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained why the regulations won't be reconsidered: "So we don't find ourselves celebrating the two-year anniversary of an economic collapse with rules the way they were two years ago," he said. 

"We've got some concerns that some of the banks in Nebraska have raised," Nelson said Monday. "We also have some banks in Nebraska saying vote for it. We're trying to balance out the concerns that have been raised. There's a certain amount of uncertainty. You don't have regulations written. You don't know who's going to be the head of the consumer protection bureau."

A fourth Republican who voted for the Senate version in May, Charles Grassley of Iowa, has indicated he has reservations as well.

Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold is expected to be the only Democrat voting against it, saying it's not progressive enough. He says the new rules for Wall Street are so timid that passing them would do more harm than good, the Journal Sentinel reports.

Lawmakers also received some troubling analysis from the Business Roundtable, which at the president's request looked at new regulations in the pipeline and concluded there are so many -- in the financial and health care bills, as well as the yet-to-be passed energy bill -- that businesses will be reluctant to hire. The Roundtable is an association of CEOs from some of the largest firms in the country. 

Chamber of Commerce chief lobbyist Bruce Josten said the problem is that nobody really understands how many rules will change. 

"It's going to take years, and that's where you get into the complete uncertainty realm which is why capital ends up sitting on the sideline," he told Fox News. The Chamber is holding a "Jobs for America" summit Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

The health care law, with 26 new regulations and dozens of potential rule changes, is making small business owners worried that the cost of insuring their workers could change. 

Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills suggested business owners look on the bright side. "They should look at the tax credits that are available to them today. That's going to be dollars in their pockets today. That's going help them today," she said. 

But Josten said there are fewer health care bill benefits than the government suggests. 

"We would suggest very few small business members qualify for those credits," she said. 

With a 9.5 percent jobless rate, the so-called recovery is hard for many Americans to see. The economy is barely creating enough jobs to accommodate the new workers entering the market. In addition, the work is over for a quarter-million Census workers and many may return to the ranks of the unemployed. 

At a Federal Reserve conference, Chairman Ben Bernanke stepped up the pressure on banks to lend more to small businesses. 

"Making credit accessible to sound small businesses is crucial to our economic recovery and so should be front and center among our current policy challenges," he said. 

But banks say the problem is not tight money. They say there's less demand for loans. Business leaders say that's because there's less demand for what they're selling and they believe it's because people are still uncertain about when things will be back to normal.

Fox News' Wendell Goler and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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