Wednesday, 21 February, 2018

GOP-led panel OKs bill to overhaul Dodd-Frank

Orlando Vargas | 08 May, 2017, 09:15

On Thursday ― the day the House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare by stripping insurance from millions of Americans, slashing funding to Medicare and handing the rich a huge tax cut ― the House Financial Services Committee did another favor for the rich and powerful, passing a bill to gut the banking regulation passed after the financial crisis.

The House Financial Services Committee approved the Financial CHOICE Act in a 34-26 vote following a markup that lasted almost three days, with all Democrats voting against it.

Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., called the bill "dead on arrival" if it advances to the Senate. The bill now moves for a full House vote.

Under the bill, banks that agree to adopt a 10 per cent capital ratio would be allowed to receive an exemption from many of Dodd-Frank's existing rules.

When asked about efforts to retain the Durbin amendment, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), another Financial Services member, said in a brief interview that he is "consulting" with colleagues on a possible change to the bill, but otherwise said he wasn't prepared to speak further about the issue.

Hensarling's bill would create an alternative path for banks to bypass a number of tougher restrictions under the law, if they meet a certain measure of bank capital.

FILE - In this Friday, April 21, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks at the Treasury Department in Washington, where he signed an executive order to review tax regulations set a year ago by his predecessor, as well as two memos to potentially reconsider major elements of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reforms passed in the wake of the Great Recession.

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The bill would repeal about 40 provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The vote followed three days of contentious debate.

"Supporters of Dodd-Frank promised it would lift the economy, end bailouts and protect consumers", Hensarling said in a statement. "We are going to continue on with our markup of this act, but in no way, shape or form does that preclude us from other ways to find common ground".

The Financial Services Roundtable, which represents integrated financial services companies, supported the news and noted that it's an important first step to improving the regulatory system and promoting economic growth.

The bill renames the CFPB the Consumer Law Enforcement Agency and reduces its power to enforce pre-existing consumer protection laws. Bankers are in a lobbying war against retailers, who want the debit card swipe fee limits to stay in place. "Wall Street banks have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of Dodd-Frank regulation".

"During the markup, several committee members specifically cited the negative effects that overly broad rules stemming from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have had on credit unions and their members, so our message is getting out there".

The Choice Act also takes aim at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), established under Dodd Frank with the sole mission of protecting consumers' interests.

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