Lew: Don't roll back Dodd-Frank in funding bill

Lew: Don't roll back Dodd-Frank in funding bill
© Lauren Schneiderman

Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewLobbying World Russian sanctions will boomerang Obama talks up Warren behind closed doors to wealthy donors MORE would advise the president to veto any government funding bill that includes provisions rolling back Wall Street regulations.

Calling the new rules passed as part of Dodd-Frank financial reform law of “paramount importance,” Lew indicated Wednesday the administration would strongly oppose any efforts to revisit the law as part of an upcoming omnibus funding bill.


“Some in Congress are attempting to use this funding process to roll back crucial provisions of the reforms to the financial system we put in place after the financial crisis of 2008,” he wrote in an op-ed published by Bloomberg View. “The Obama administration strongly opposes this misguided effort to undermine critical elements of financial reform.”

Congress needs to pass a funding bill by Dec. 11 to avoid a government shutdown. While a budget deal hammered out in October sets funding levels for the government for the next two years, it falls to appropriators to dole out those funds.

And as appropriators craft the funding legislation, lawmakers in both parties are eyeing the must-pass bill as an opportunity to push other policy changes.

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBush, Romney won't support Trump reelection: NYT Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) has indicated he expects the funding bill will come with some policy riders, but has not been specific on what could be included. Meanwhile, Democrats are already warning against “poison pill” riders that they say could lead them to oppose the bill.

High on the list of controversial riders would be language stepping back financial rules. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) was able to insert a copy of his broad financial reform bill in an earlier Senate appropriations bill, and House Republicans have passed a host of Dodd-Frank changes that could also be included in the omnibus.

But Lew dismissed such efforts as “irresponsible,” and said lawmakers, Republicans and even some moderate Democrats could put the nation at risk for a future financial crisis if they go down this path.

“Many of the changes masquerading as small or technical are significant, and they would weaken our financial system,” he wrote. “The administration has made clear that it will defend Wall Street reform against such efforts.”

Lew did not specifically identify provisions that would earn ire from the administration, but highlighted some sections of Dodd-Frank as critical. Those include the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and new tools for regulators to identify certain financial companies as critical to the financial system and meriting stricter oversight.