WASHINGTON — House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank tried to put Republicans on the defensive Thursday over their opposition to a new consumer protection agency, arguing that the politically unpopular Federal Reserve Board would be the greatest beneficiary of this position.

Under Frank’s plan, “the greatest loser of power … is the Federal Reserve,” the Massachusetts Democrat said during a hearing intended to probe the central bank’s thoughts on regulatory reform. “Those who resist taking consumer protection powers and putting them into a separate agency are de facto the greatest defenders of the Federal Reserve.”

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