Dems hail Dodd-Frank reforms on law's anniversary

Dems hail Dodd-Frank reforms on law's anniversary
© Cameron Lancaster

Democrats on Thursday marked the sixth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, arguing that the law was more important than ever.

Defenders said the sweeping post-recession financial sector reforms are needed as a counterweight to global economic uncertainty and warned Republicans against rolling back the law.

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“Through several episodes of market volatility—most recently in the wake of the United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union—the U.S. financial system has demonstrated resilience, providing fresh evidence that Wall Street Reform is working,” said Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewHogan urges Mnuchin to reconsider delay of Harriet Tubman bill Mnuchin says new Harriet Tubman bill delayed until 2028 Overnight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint MORE in a statement.

“If anything, recent events around the world underscore the need to remain vigilant,” he added. “This means continuing to carry out Wall Street Reform and defend against efforts to roll it back.”

Lew touted the law's achievements, citing $700 billion in new capital for banks and $11 billion in relief for consumers secured by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an agency established by Dodd-Frank.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, used the anniversary to defend that agency from Republican efforts to increase congressional oversight.

“These relentless attacks on the CFPB reflect the much larger and incredibly misguided Republican deregulatory agenda that would give special interests a leg up and make it harder for every day Americans to get ahead,” said Waters in a statement. “That’s why we must stop any effort to weaken the CFPB or to roll back the critical Wall Street reforms that have made our economy fairer, safer, and stronger.”

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said Dodd-Frank “exemplifies how we write economic rules that work for working people,” but said too much of the law’s implementation has been stalled.

“Six years is too long to wait for full implementation,” said Trumka. “Working people will continue to stand together and fight to restructure Wall Street so we can finance the real economy instead of gambling with it.”

Republicans countered that Dodd-Frank stunted the ability of small banks to expand their services and gives big banks a Washington-funded bailout system via the “systemically important financial institution” designation, nicknamed “too big to fail.”

"We need to get government out of the bailout business and level the playing field so small banks and credit unions have a better chance to compete and help our economy grow stronger,” said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas). 

“One of the main reasons why we’re stuck in the worst economic recovery of our lifetimes is the Dodd-Frank Act, a grave mistake Democrats inflicted upon the American people six years ago today,” he added.

Dan Berger, president and CEO of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU), also claimed the law put an irresponsible burden on credit unions.

“Credit unions continue to suffer under an enormous regulatory burden that was borne out of a crisis they didn’t create,” said Berger. “Unfortunately, consumers suffer the most when credit unions disappear, since credit unions provide financial services with low fees, competitive interest rates and exceptional service.”