Senate Republicans call for complete repeal of Wall Street reform

Senate Republicans are introducing legislation to repeal the Wall Street reform law in its entirety, breaking with House Republicans who have opted for a go-slow approach to rolling back the regulatory overhaul.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) announced Friday he will introduce legislation to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and said the bill has 18 co-sponsors, including the entire Senate Republican leadership.


"We must repeal the Democrats’ takeover of the financial markets that favors Wall Street corporations, over-regulates small businesses with massive new bureaucracy and hurts consumers,” said DeMint in a statement. “This financial takeover will strangle our economy and move jobs overseas unless it is repealed."

The bill has attracted a variety of Republican co-sponsors, ranging from the most senior members of the caucus to fiscally conservative freshmen.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate approves two energy regulators, completing panel On The Money: Biden announces key members of economic team | GOP open to Yellen as Treasury secretary, opposed to budget pick | GAO: Labor Department 'improperly presented' jobless data Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary MORE (R-Ky.), Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Republican Conference Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderMurkowski: Trump should concede White House race Mark Kelly to be sworn in as senator on Wednesday Congress set for chaotic year-end sprint MORE (R-Tenn.) and Republican Policy Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMurkowski: Trump should concede White House race Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary Biden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate MORE (R-S.D.) are all co-sponsors on the bill, along with newcomers Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGrassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection MORE (R-Utah) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul says Fauci owes parents and students an apology over pandemic measures Grassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus Congress set for chaotic year-end sprint MORE (R-Ky.), according to DeMint's office.

The legislation represents newfound aggression towards the Wall Street reform law from Republicans. While the GOP has been critical of the law, citing concerns over excessive and burdensome regulations that they say could stifle economic growth, a big push to scrap the law completely has failed to materialize.

Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannEvangelicals shouldn't be defending Trump in tiff over editorial Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in White House backs Stephen Miller amid white nationalist allegations MORE (R-Minn.) introduced a similar repeal bill in the House on the first day of the 112th Congress, but it has failed to gain traction. Instead, House Republicans are pushing a package of smaller, targeted bills that would alter or repeal certain provisions of Dodd-Frank.

But now, DeMint is calling for the entire piece of legislation to be eliminated.

"If the Democrats were serious about financial reform that protects small businesses and consumers, they would join with Republicans to curb the power of the Federal Reserve, permanently end ‘too big to fail’ and wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," he said.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonCornell to launch new bipartisan publication led by former Rep. Steve Israel Trump faces tough path to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac overhaul Several hurt when truck runs into minimum wage protesters in Michigan MORE (D-S.D.) blasted the legislation Friday, saying it was proof Republicans wanted to repeat the events that led up to the financial crisis.

“If someone proposed a repeal of regulations on nuclear reactors today, they would be called crazy. But when it comes to the safety of our economy, Republicans apparently believe Americans were adequately protected during the financial crisis despite the fact that they lost millions of jobs, millions of homes and trillions of dollars in wealth," he said. "Efforts to tear down Wall Street reform, in part or in whole, are attempts to bring us back to the days of too big to fail banks, backroom derivatives deals, risky subprime mortgages, and the threat of economic collapse.”

The push to roll back Wall Street reform comes as several federal regulators are racing to write rules implementing its various provisions, and as the economy and financial markets have enjoyed a run of good news.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Thursday having recorded its best first quarter since 1998, despite turmoil in the Middle East rocking markets earlier in March.

And the Labor Department reported Friday that the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.8 percent as the economy added 216,000 jobs, beating economist expectations. The jobless rate now stands at its lowest point in two years.

This post updated at 3:55 pm.