WASHINGTON — Five senior Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee asked the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to extend the comment period for its preemption proposal.

The members, including Rep. Barney Frank, sent a letter Friday to Acting Comptroller John Walsh asking him to extend the comment period for at least 60 days. They said the original 30-day comment period, which ended June 27, was "insufficient to foster a meaningful and balanced exchange of views between the OCC and other interested parties."

In a separate statement, Frank also said the length of the comment period is inappropriate given the fact that the agency has no permanent head.

"I think an Acting Comptroller should not set rules of this importance," he said. "These rules should not be finalized until a permanent head of the OCC is in place."

The letter follows a similar request submitted June 22 from the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.

The letter also noted that the OCC provided a 60-day comment period when it issued its 2003 preemption rule. In light of that history, and "the clear gravity of preemption determinations generally, and the particular issues associated with this rulemaking as a result of the preemption and visitorial power provisions of" Dodd-Frank, the members asked Walsh to reopen the comment period for the proposal.

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