Chamber Chief: End the Dodd-Frank 'shouting match'

The head of the nation’s largest business lobby argued policymakers should end the “shouting match” over the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, and work on ways to improve it.

Tom Donohue, the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, aired several criticisms of the landmark Wall Street overhaul Wednesday, while at the same time trying to advance the debate on financial reform beyond current entrenched sides.

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“Too many have made Dodd-Frank a line in the sand. You’re either for it or you’re against it,” he said at a Chamber event on financial reform.

Donohue insisted that the Chamber and business allies are not interested in repealing or dismantling Dodd-Frank, but trying to build a system that is transparent and flexible enough to allow financial markets to work as well as they possibly can.

His comments come as lawmakers and business advocates have been searching for some common ground on Dodd-Frank, after years of partisan battle over the future of monitoring the financial sector.

Donohue argued that regulators were overreaching currently, trying to minimize risk in the financial sector in such a way that it was holding back the broader economy. He argued that regulators were forcing companies into predetermined boxes, subjecting companies to a host of new complex rules and stifling innovation.

But while looking for a more relaxed regulatory climate, Donohue insisted that the business community is not looking to take apart new financial rules. Rather, he wants everyone to review what parts of the 2010 law are working, and be open to changing parts that are not.

“Dodd-Frank is not the beginning and the end of the debate over our financial system,” he said. “It’s going to take an honest conversation and a thoughtful dialogue.”

Donohue also fired back directly at the Democrats, and some populist Republicans, who have labeled the nation’s largest banks as “too big to fail” and called for breaking them up.

“Yes, we need the big global banks that our opponents are so eager to break up,” he said. “They may not like it, but those banks provide services that no one else can.”