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Regulating finance, and more

As part of its financial-industry reform package, the Obama administration plans to create a new consumer-protection agency for investment and credit products.

Regulating finance
The Obama administration said this week it would create a new consumer-protection agency for investment and credit products, as part of its financial-industry reform package. It would be the first agency with an explicit charter to protect borrowers and small investors. President Obama said the reforms update a system “overwhelmed by the speed, scope, and sophistication of a 21st-century global economy.”

Federal benefits for gays
President Obama ordered that federal benefits be extended to the same-sex partners of federal employees. Obama signed the order amid rising pressure from gay-advocacy groups impatient with the administration’s refusal to overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The federal Defense of Marriage Act bars health insurance for the same-sex partners of federal workers, so the benefits offered will be relatively marginal, such as relocation assistance.

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