Sherrod Brown calls on regulators to suspend non-coronavirus rulemaking

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Sen. Sherrod Brown has requested that financial regulators suspend all rulemaking unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week Brown wrote letters to a number of regulators, calling for comment periods closing after March 1 to be suspended or extended for at least 45 days. The Ohio Democrat reached out to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the National Credit Union Administration, among others.

“The COVID-19 virus threatens both the health of the public and the economy,” Brown wrote. “It presents immediate challenges to real households and every entity in the housing market, from frontline homelessness providers to homeowners. In light of this crisis, we urge you to implement an immediate moratorium on rulemakings not related to the virus response or other imminent health and safety concerns.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Brown, who is the ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, additionally called for regulators to put their resources toward responding to the health crisis and providing guidance.

The verbiage in Brown's letters varied slightly depending on which agency it was directed at, though there were no substantial differences.

The United States had over 14,000 COVID-19 cases and 205 deaths as of Friday mid-morning, according to a database from Johns Hopkins University. Across the country, officials have closed schools, ordered non-essential businesses to shutter and requested that people stay home as much as possible to try and stem the spread of the disease.

Given these difficult circumstances, Brown was concerned that the public wouldn’t be able to meaningfully engage with the agencies to provide thoughtful suggestions or comments on proposed rules.

“The American people are scrambling to ensure they protect themselves, their families, and vulnerable individuals in society from this virus,” Brown wrote. “Businesses, public institutions, and other organizations are devoting their resources to arrange alternative ways to carry out their activities as many of them take actions to protect their employees and the public.”

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