Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Free credit reports proposed by Bush

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Consumers should get free credit reports each year, along with information to help them ensure accuracy and prevent fraud, the Bush administration said in a proposal Monday.

Such measures should be enacted in a renewal of the Fair Credit Reporting Act - parts of which are to expire Jan. 1 unless Congress extends them, the administration says.

"Recovering one's identity is a long, stressful and painful process," Treasury Secretary John Snow said. "We need to make it more difficult to take one's identity and much easier to re-establish one's identity."

Consumer groups have opposed the renewal, saying states often impose tougher standards. But the Bush administration wants additional consumer protections. The Treasury Department's proposal is similar to a bipartisan bill introduced in the House last week.

The standards expand credit opportunities to everybody, Snow said. "Essentially, they make your reputation as a borrower portable, so that you don't have to establish your good name from scratch in every city you visit or every store where you shop," he said.

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