Leaping over its biggest hurdle yet, the Financial CHOICE Act earned a majority vote in the House of Representatives on June 8.
The nearly 600-page bill passed with a party-line vote of 233 to 186. It now moves into the far greater challenge of passage in the Senate.
The legislation is a comprehensive package of rules and regulations intended to overhaul and replace what its architect, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), refers to as “the failed Dodd-Frank Act that has contributed to the worst economic recovery of the last 70 years.”
“Every promise of Dodd-Frank has been broken,” Hensarling said in a statement. “The Financial CHOICE Act… stands for economic growth for all, but bank bailouts for none. We will end bank bailouts once and for all. We will replace bailouts with bankruptcy. We will replace economic stagnation with a growing, healthy economy.”
“We will make sure there is needed regulatory relief for our small banks and credit unions, because it’s our small banks and credit unions that lend to our small businesses that are the jobs engine of our economy and make sure the American dream is not a pipe dream,” Hensarling added.
Among the matters included in the bill:
Abolishing the Federal Reserve’s authority to supervise and set regulations for non-bank financial institutions;
directing the SEC to publish a manual establishing its enforcement policies and procedures;
eliminating the Volcker rule’s prohibition on proprietary trading;
exempting some financial institutions that meet capital and liquidity requirements from many of Dodd-Frank’s restrictions that limit risk taking; and
replacing Dodd-Frank’s method of dealing with large and failing financial institutions, known as the orderly liquidation authority, with a new bankruptcy code provision.
The legislation would also weaken the powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Under the proposed law, the president could fire the agency’s director at will and its oversight powers would be curbed.
The bill would also eliminate the Labor Department’s controversial fiduciary rule, which requires brokers to act in the best interest of their clients when providing investment advice about retirement. The first phase of compliance with the rule commenced on June 9.
The bill placed before the House did not include a repeal of the so-called Durbin amendment, limitation on debit-card transaction fees, will not be included.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the Financial CHOICE Act would reduce the deficit by $33.6 billion over 10 years and that the bill’s regulatory relief would benefit community banks and credit unions.
There were plenty of attacks on the bill before during, and after the vote.
“The House Republicans are ramming through a bill…to roll back Wall Street reform and gut the CFPB. And despite all his tough talk on Wall Street, President Trump is proudly supporting this bill to ‘undo’ Dodd-Frank,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in a statement. “Consumer groups, civil rights groups, veterans groups — everyone who’s not a big bank — opposes this ‘wrong choice act.’ Democrats remember the 2008 financial crash. We remember the millions of people who lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings because of Wall Street’s reckless greed. We stand with veterans, seniors, and working families to oppose this bill. We won’t let Wall Street crush our economy again.”