GOP chairman says Dodd-Frank reform still a 2017 priority

GOP chairman says Dodd-Frank reform still a 2017 priority
© Greg Nash

The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee said Wednesday that reforming the Dodd-Frank financial reform law will still happen in 2017 despite Congress’s hefty legislative agenda, according to Reuters.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said the White House and congressional leaders promised that the legislature will act on revamping the sweeping financial regulation law before the end of 2017.

"Every conversation I've had with the president, the vice president and the speaker is that this remains a this year priority," Hensarling told Reuters at the American Bankers Association conference in Washington.

The banking industry has tried for years to amend Dodd-Frank, which it says harms banks of all sizes with stifling regulations and rules. Few bipartisan efforts have been successful as Democrats fiercely defended the 2010 law during President Obama’s tenure.

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Hensarling and Financial Services Republicans laid down a foundation for financial regulation reform in 2016 with the chairman’s Financial Choice Act, a sweeping rewrite of Dodd-Frank.

Even so, that bill is unlikely to get through the Senate, where Republicans face a thinner majority and would need Democratic support for major changes. Progressive firebrands backed by a liberal base furious over the 2016 election also pose hurdles.

House Republicans told The Hill last year that a piece-by-piece approach would likely be their strategy to reform Dodd-Frank, rather than a massive bill like Hensarling’s.

Probable starting points include bills to make Congress control the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) budget, install a bipartisan commission to lead the CFPB and end a process to dismantle banks deemed “too big to fail” before they collapse.

Congress also faces a jam-packed legislative agenda complicated by Republican squabbling and the shadow of the investigation into President Trump’s connections to Russia. Republican lawmakers are struggling to find unity on repealing and replacing ObamaCare, delaying work on tax reform and an infrastructure funding package prized by Trump.