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But testifying to Congress, the White House official assembling the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau made no apologies. Elizabeth Warren said the agency was badly needed, long overdue and might have helped the country avoid the housing and financial crises of the last several years had it been created earlier.

Financial Services Chairman Spencer Bachus, Alabama Republican, said the agency will likely be “the most powerful agency that’s ever been created in Washington.” He and other Republicans have complained that Congress doesn’t control the bureau’s budget, that it will be headed by a director and not a bipartisan commission, and that it has strong leeway to decide which financial products it will curb.

“You have a lot of discretion and a lot of power, but I see very little accountability,” Mr. Bachus said.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama bucks up donors for fight

President Obama is urging Democratic donors to hang on to the enthusiasm they felt during his first run for the White House as his 2012 re-election campaign approaches.

Mr. Obama acknowledged that in 2008 it felt like “lightning in a bottle” and it’s sometimes easy to take his historic presidential victory for granted. But the president said there’s more work to do, so donors must stay engaged.

The president struck a carefully nonpartisan tone in his comments to about 500 members of the Democratic National Committee’s national finance committee at a Washington hotel.

He said sometimes people might want him to punch back harder against partisan attacks but that it’s important to come together for the country. Mr. Obama has largely adopted a tone of compromise since Democrats’ midterm election losses.

CONGRESS

Lawmakers seek safer kid helmets

Two Democratic lawmakers are trying to get football helmet companies to make safer helmets for kids.

Their proposal is intended to make sure that helmets address concussion risk for players at the high school level and below.

New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall and New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell say legislation they introduced on Wednesday would give companies nine months to improve helmet standards, which are now voluntary.

NEW YORK

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