Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate banking committee, has made a counterproposal to Democrats for a new government agency to protect consumers in financial affairs, Reuters reports Monday, citing a document the news agency obtained.

Shelby, of Alabama, would make the agency part of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which currently protects consumers' accounts in most banks. The agency would have rule-writing power - a power favored by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.), chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Differences between the two senators over details of regulatory changes prompted Dodd in early February to promise he would move forward on legislation without Shelby's input.

Shelby's plan would also provide separate funding for the agency, whose director would be appointed by the president and subject to confirmation or rejection by the Senate.

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