They did it! The House passed the Financial CHOICE Act, which would roll back regulations established in Dodd-Frank, one of former President Barack Obama’s biggest pieces of legislation.
From The Hill:
Sponsored by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the CHOICE Act is the most ambitious Republican effort to roll back the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in 2010. Republicans have long targeted Dodd-Frank, saying it has created a crushing regulatory burden that suffocates small businesses and banks while empowering unaccountable bureaucrats.
“Dodd-Frank represents the greatest imposition on our business enterprises than all Obama era regulations combined,” Hensarling said Thursday morning in a briefing with reporters. “In many respects, it was not a response to the financial crisis, but a grab bag of leftist ideas that were waiting on the shelf for quite some time.”
Dodd-Frank should have stopped big banks from growing, but The Daily Caller reported that did not happen:
Despite the act’s intentions, large banking institutions have grown dramatically since the passage of Dodd-Frank, and small community banks have incurred serious losses trying to keep up. Crippling regulations saddled smaller banks, forcing American consumers to market with fewer investment vehicles and greater costs.
Prior to Dodd-Frank, some 75 percent of banks offered free-checking. That figure fell to 39 percent just two years after Dodd-Frank came into effect. Consumers are paying more and getting less because of Dodd-Frank. Low-income consumers suffer the most, according to research by the International Center for Law and Economics.
This is what Hensarling has offered in his bill. From The Washington Examiner:
A main feature of the legislation would be an offer to banks: If they maintain a significantly higher level of capital, they would receive additional regulatory relief — the choice for which the bill is named. Higher capital means less indebtedness and more funding through ownership stakes. The idea is that requiring higher capital would reduce the likelihood of a bank collapsing and also institute more market discipline because owners have more skin in the game.
No banks that had the levels of capital required by the bill failed during the crisis, noted Rep. Paul Mitchell, a Michigan freshman. For 18 months during the crisis, Mitchell recounted in explaining his support for the legislation, the career training business of which he was CEO didn’t know if the megabank it relied on to make payroll would go bust, taking his company with it.
Aside from that provision, the bill would limit the new powers granted to regulators, eliminate the “Volcker Rule” preventing banks from speculating with deposits insured by the federal government, and dramatically scale back the role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The bill would end the orderly liquidation authority, which is “the process through which the federal government takes over and dismantles a major bank before it collapses.”
Will It Survive the Senate?
As I blogged on Monday, the bill will probably not survive in the Senate. The Hill reported that the senators “on the Banking Committee have shown more interest in a smaller bill focused on community bank relief than the House’s sweeping changes.”
But Hensarling has taken this in stride and remains open to working with the Senate Democrats. He even expressed willingness to move “specific pieces of it through the Senate and to President Trump’s desk.”
House Democrats know the possibility of some of it moving through the Senate is high:
House Democrats expressed confidence Thursday that their counterparts in the Senate would block the Choice Act. Nevertheless, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi expressed concern that parts of the bill could pass separately. “The cumulative effect on the investor, on the taxpayer, on the consumer, will be the same, and it’s not good,” she said.
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