Waters: Dodd-Frank only open for 'technical' changes

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Waters opened her remarks with a friendly tone, thanking the nation's largest business lobby for inviting her to speak at its annual capital markets summit — her first appearance ever before the business group. She vowed to keep an "open door" policy and consider the Chamber's perspective going forward.

But she quickly acknowledged that she and the group rarely see eye to eye on matters, and threw several jabs at it and other industry groups for fighting efforts to reform the financial system and implement Dodd-Frank.

She did not shy away from slamming the Chamber's involvement in challenging Dodd-Frank, including backing several lawsuits looking to block or overturn pieces of the law, going so far as to suggest the Chamber and others were simply looking to block protections for shareholders and others by slowing down the law in court.

"I can't help but wonder … if the true motive here was to stop implementation," she said. "I am concerned that strategy will be used more broadly as a way to attempt to dismantle provisions in Dodd-Frank."

Waters also tread lightly on the ongoing debate over "too big to fail" financial institutions in the Capitol. The White House and the financial industry both maintain that Dodd-Frank gave regulators the tools to wind down instead of bail out ailing financial firms via a new power called "orderly liquidation authority."

In describing this provision, Waters said the new regulations must be fully implemented before judging its effectiveness. And while some members in both parties have begun talking about breaking up the nation's biggest banks, Waters said so far that "bandwagon" has little to show for it.

"There's a lot of talk about it, but I've not seen any bill come forward. I've not seen a draft of any kind," she said. "I've not seen any real description of what it means to break up the large financial institutions."