Democrat calls GOP-bill to rollback Dodd-Frank a 'middle finger' to Americans

May 2, 2017
In The News

House lawmakers on Tuesday wrangled over a GOP-led bill to undo Obama-era financial regulations, with one Democrat calling the almost 600-page plan a "middle finger" to American consumers and regulators.

At the outset of a markup of House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling's bill to scale back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, Democratic lawmakers blasted the plan as "immoral," calling it "poisonous" and "a deeply misguided" piece of legislation that would only bring harm to American families and come to the rescue of Wall Street.

"The bill is rotten to the core, and simply carries water for Trump and his buddies on Wall Street," said Maxine Waters, a top Democrat on the panel.

Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, said the bill would take the American financial system back to the "regulatory Stone Age," adding it is a "middle finger to consumers, regulators, investors and the market," which drew soft gasps from Republican lawmakers in the hearing room.

Republican lawmakers rushed to rebuke Democrat's statements on the bill, referring to them as "hyperbole."

"The real middle finger to the American people is the lack of recovery because of Dodd-Frank," said Bill Huizenga of Michigan. He said small businesses have been "stuck between surviving and growing" without access to liquidity in the market.

GOP lawmakers blame the 2010 law for placing too many regulations on the banks. They say the reforms have choked U.S. economic growth and having crimped lending to U.S. businesses.

French Hill, a Republican lawmaker from Arkansas, said Hensarling's bill, dubbed the Financial Choice Act, is "not about deregulation, but about rightsizing regulation." He said there's a number of areas that Dodd-Frank didn't get right, especially for community banks.

Capuano challenged Hensarling to trim down his bill to focus simply on offering regulatory relief for community banks, which he said would get immediate support from Democrats. "That would pass in 15 minutes, if you'll propose it," he said.