Urgent action needed by all by tomorrow!


As reported previously in Soundings Trade Only and here in Dealer Outlook, our industry representatives in Washington, D.C. have been working to get boat dealers exempted from the burdensome and unnecessary oversight of a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection being created by the financial reform bill that has now passed both the House and Senate.

Essentially, our efforts failed to get us exempted in the Senate bill. In the House version, only auto dealers are exempted. Now, because the Senate and House versions have a number of major differences, the bills must go to a Conference Committee that will reconcile the two bills into one. That means we still may be able to get the job done . . . but only if we take action now.

You’ll recall Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., attempted to amend the Senate bill to include boat dealers before it passed. That attempt failed. But, Brownback has succeeded in getting a “motion to instruct” conferees to the financial reform bill passed by the Senate with a 60-30 vote margin and with significant bipartisan support. “While this is an important step,” reports NMMA’s legislative director Mat Dunn, “the ‘motion to instruct’ is non-binding and we will have to work aggressively to ensure that marine dealers are now represented in the Conference Committee. We’re calling for urgent action by all our industry now."

Here’s what you need to know:
Right now, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is circulating a letter to all Senators for their signature. This letter calls upon Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., to include boats and RVs in the final conference agreement. According to Dunn, we need everyone in our industry to their Senators and urge them to sign Sen. Bill Nelson’s letter. (This letter needs to have a solid list of Senate signatories to be effective.)

THERE’S A DEADLINE: The deadline for signatures is Friday, at 2 p.m.

Remember, it is important and reasonable that all dealers - auto, boat and RV - be treated equitably and similarly in what emerges from the conference committee. There’s no justification for one set of rules for auto dealers and a separate set of rules for marine and RV dealers.