House Republicans Pass Bill to Rein In Dodd-Frank
On Thursday, while seemingly everyone in Washington was fixated on former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, House Republicans were busy. A bill entitled the Financial Choice Act was passed, along party lines, which aims to significantly roll back many of the onerous banking regulations created by the Dodd-Frank Act. In speaking on the need to continue the process of government deregulation, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) tweeted, "Let me put it this way: #DoddFrank is more than a thousand pages long and has more rules and regulations than any Obama-era law."
While the Financial Choice Act does not repeal Dodd-Frank, it does go a long way in reining in its congressionally independent powers. The House Republicans' bill specifically targets the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an unelected and unaccountable board of bureaucrats. Clamping down on the CFPB's ability to create new financial regulations without approval from Congress is a very welcome change given the fact that elected representatives, not unelected bureaucrats, should have the power and responsibility to create significant rules and regulations. The new bill also stops the CFPB from collecting consumers' information without their permission.
Democrats' justification for the passage of Dodd-Frank was to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis — a crisis for which Democrats sowed the seeds with housing regulation. As is often the case with onerous government regulations, Dodd-Frank proved to do little in the way of actually helping small businesses and small banks, instead hurting them and resulting in years of sluggish economic growth. Rep. Rod Pittenger (R-NC) states, "Local bank leaders tell me they now hire more compliance officers than loan officers, as filling out forms for bureaucrats has become more important than growing the economy." The irony in Dodd-Frank is that its regulations, which were supposed to protect the little guy, have proven to prevent and hinder economic growth and opportunity for the little guy.
Many are predicting that the House bill is dead on arrival in the Senate, and it is certain to undergo significant changes, but there are some Democrats who have voiced support for reforming Dodd-Frank.
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