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Thune-Begich Legislation Clarifying 'Red Flags Rule' Passes Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mark Begich (D-AK) today praised the passage of their bipartisan bill, the Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010, which clarifies a burdensome regulation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that would otherwise require small businesses to undertake costly and unnecessary measures to prevent identity theft. The Thune-Begich bill passed the full Senate by Unanimous Consent and will now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.

"Small businesses in South Dakota and across our country are the engines of job growth for America," said Thune. "Forcing them to comply with misdirected and costly federal regulations included in the FTC Red Flags Rule will hurt their ability to create jobs and continue growing our economy. I'm pleased that the Senate has passed this important piece of legislation to ensure that small businesses aren't unnecessarily impacted by these regulations and I look to the House of Representatives to pass this bill without delay."

"It is very important to consider the needs of small businesses, such as medical providers, when implementing consumer protections," Begich said. "Our goal is to streamline requirements for businesses to ensure the proper implementation without onerous costs. I thank my colleagues for supporting this bill."

The FTC issued the Red Flags regulation under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transition Act of 2003, which requires the establishment of guidelines for financial institutions and creditors regarding identity theft. If implemented on January 1, 2011, as planned, the FTC's overreaching definition of a creditor would place a significant burden on our nation's small businesses. Recognizing this, the FTC has delayed implementation of the rule multiple times to allow for Congressional clarification.

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