GOP House panel takes first step to gut Dodd-Frank law

House Financial Services Committee member Rep. Randy Hultgren R-Ill. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday

Democrats seek to protect watchdog as GOP tackles Dodd-Frank

With support only from the panel's Republicans, the bill approved by the House Financial Services Committee would eliminate significant parts of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and place new restrictions on regulators monitoring Wall Street.

Hensarling has said he expects the bill will be considered soon by the full House, where it likely would be passed by the Republican majority.

"While we believe in financial reforms that make sense for America's community banks and local credit unions, the repeal of hard-fought debit swipe fee reform included in the CHOICE Act gives big banks and card networks a green light to raise costs on every business in America that accepts debit cards", Austen Jensen, Vice President of Government Affairs and Financial Services for RILA, said in a statement.

Marcus Stanley, policy director for Americans for Financial Reform, told Vox, "It's a little hard to get your mind around everything this bill does, because there's nearly no area of financial regulation it doesn't touch".

While the measure is expected to easily win approval at the committee level and in the full House, it faces a hard climb in the Senate where it would need 60 votes to become reality.

The 589-page legislation [PDF], which has received significant opposition from advocates, retailers, and others, is a revision of the previous Financial CHOICE Act introduced by Hensarling past year.

"Under Dodd-Frank", he said, "consumers are paying more and getting less". GOP lawmakers blame the Dodd-Frank regulations for choking USA economic growth and crimping lending by banks.

Wielding a heavy knife, Hensarling's bill calls for repealing about 40 provisions of Dodd-Frank.

The legislation paints a bull's eye on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"I'll take 2 percent growth over the recession of 2008 any day of the week", Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) said, calling the bill "irredeemable" and "dead on arrival" in the Senate. Instead, the hearings turned into a contentious debate over Democratic efforts to cast a spotlight on President Donald Trump's business empire and his refusal to release his tax returns. Banks could qualify for much of the regulatory relief in the bill so long as they meet a strict basic requirement for building capital to cover unexpected big losses.

"The bill is rotten to the core and incredibly divisive". "This bill strips the CFPB of most of its power and would leave consumers vulnerable to fraud, hidden fees and costly gotchas by banks and unscrupulous financial firms".

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a former Goldman Sachs trader, added, "There is no evidence that the capital markets aren't working, and the sad thing is, no one on this side will tell you that Dodd-Frank is flawless".

"As members of Congress develop a public policy, you have a responsibility to ensure this president is not benefiting", said Rep. Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.

The agency carried out an ambitious program of investigations across the spectrum of financial products, wrote new rules for mortgage lending and opened a vast new database for consumers to lodge specific complaints against financial companies.

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