Obama administration fires back at Dodd-Frank critics

Meanwhile, top Republicans on Capitol Hill have signaled in recent months that they will try to chip away at the law, which President Obama signed roughly nine months ago. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, also responded to Wolin’s Tuesday speech by continuing to critique the speed at which Dodd-Frank is being implemented. 

“At the current breakneck pace, it is difficult for individual firms — especially small businesses — and the public at large to meaningfully participate and offer their insights and observations,” Bachus said. 

Top Republicans on the House Financial Services and Agriculture panels announced last week that they had introduced a measure that would push the implementation of the Dodd-Frank section dealing with derivatives back 18 months. GOP lawmakers have also proposed installing a five-person board to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau instead of a single director. 

For their part, groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have criticized what they call the lack of transparency in how rules are being developed for the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), a body created by Dodd-Frank that counts top federal regulators as members. 

At Pew, Wolin fired back over the FSOC, saying it was more transparent than any regulatory body he had seen. He also looked to counter criticisms over Dodd-Frank’s potential effects on American firms in the global economy and how coordinated the law’s implementation has been.

And the deputy secretary pushed back on those who have questioned the financial cost of Dodd-Frank, saying detractors who want to take funding away from implementation are trying to weaken the law’s reforms. 

“What happened in 2008 and in 2009 was enormously costly — vastly more costly than almost anything else we could imagine, and overwhelmingly more costly than implementing the various pieces of Dodd-Frank,” Wolin said.