Republicans swiftly call for financial reform repeal

House and Senate Republicans called for a repeal of sweeping financial overhaul legislation passed Thursday, two years after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The 2,315-page financial bill is one of President Obama’s highest priorities heading into the midterm election and represents an effort to crack down on Wall Street and risky speculative trading that enveloped the broader U.S. economy.

Congressional Republicans argue the bill goes too far and threatens to restrict credit and increase costs on consumers and does little to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government sponsored enterprises bailed out by taxpayers in 2008.

Democrats have criticized Republicans for standing up for Wall Street.

“We all know Wall Street isn’t going to reform itself,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “Those who vote ‘no’ are standing with the same bankers who gambled with our homes and economic security in the first place.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was the first on Thursday to call for a repeal.

“I think it ought to be repealed,” Boehner said at his weekly press conference. ”There are commonsense things that you should do to plug the holes in the regulatory system that were there and to bring more transparency to financial transactions, because transparency is like sunlight. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

Senior Senate Republicans quickly echoed Boehner’s remarks.

While going into the Senate chamber to cast their final votes on the legislation, several Republicans said they agreed.

“If we were in a position to do something, maybe [Boehner] is right," said GOP Policy Chairman Sen. John Thune (S.D.). "We'll see if we can do something about it after the next election."

Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), the top Republican on the Banking Committee, said he “absolutely” agreed.

"If you vote against it, you know it should be repealed. It's the wrong bill. It's not reform. It ignores Fannie and Freddie. It's not going to create any jobs. It's going to create a huge bureaucracy,” Shelby said.

Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) said he would look to repeal parts of the legislation.

"Some parts of it are good, but on balance it's bad so I would try to repeal the stuff that harms the economy," LeMieux said. "Wall Street's in favor of this bill. It's Main Street that's going to get hurt."

“The ink hasn’t even dried yet on our bill that takes away big banks’ ability to gamble away our jobs, savings and houses, and Republicans already want to give it back," Jim Manley, spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement. "This is the Republican job-killing agenda in full effect: they want to go back to the system that cost 8 million Americans their jobs because that’s what their friends on Wall Street want, and that’s who they’re looking out for.”

This story was updated at 5 p.m.