In an attempted final push, Republicans are posed to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act five years after they were signed into law.
THOMAS HEDGES, PRODUCER, TRNN: On the fifth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank financial reform package, few are touting tis success. While Democrats try to uphold a piece of legislation that’s only a husk of its original self, Republicans want to dismantle completely what’s left of it. REP. JEB HENSARLING (R-TX): Just like Obamacare, Dodd-Frank is leftist. With fewer choices, higher costs, and less freedom. It’s time we commit to making sure this anniversary is Dodd-Frank’s last anniversary. HEDGES: Supporters of the bill say Dodd-Frank has been beneficial, from the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, to rules on risky trading and more transparency, advocates say that if anything, Dodd-Frank doesn’t go far enough. But Republicans say that corporate greed isn’t the issue. Instead, regulations are the problem. Last week, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio warned a crowd on Capitol Hill about the Republican push to destroy what’s left of Dodd-Frank. SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): I have watched one hearing after another when they just seem oblivious to the whole notion, the historical fact, that financial community excess, that Wall Street Greed, took us into this situation seven and eight and ten years ago. Almost as if it didn’t happen, when you watch these hearings. Their mission is always to find ways, legislatively, by intimidation of regulators, all kinds of ways to undermine Dodd-Frank. HEDGES: But Brown says deregulation of finance is not just happening in the banking committee, where he’s the ranking member. BROWN: I sit on the ag committee, I’ve seen it there. I sit on the banking committee, I’ve seen it there. We’re seeing it in the appropriations process. Last week in Senate banking, Republicans held another hearing with representatives from the financial industry advocating all kinds of approaches to undermining Dodd-Frank. HEDGES: Last December Citigroup not only lobbied but actually authored a provision that killed an important rule in Dodd-Frank, one that barred FDIC-insured banks from gambling with swaps and other risky derivatives. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): The taxpayers ultimately will be on the hook. If they get out there, engage in derivatives training, and it blows up the entire financial institution or the entire economy. HEDGES: Sen. Elizabeth Warren also spoke with Brown at last week’s event, which was organized by Americans for Financial Reform. WARREN: Think about it, what the world looked like before we had the CFPD. You kind of had this grab bag of consumer protection laws scattered amongst seven different agencies, none of whom had any real interest in enforcing the law. Congress instead created a new agency that had the tools, the expertise, and the responsibility for making sure that consumer financial markets work fairly. This was structural change. Right now the Republicans want to roll back Dodd-Frank, returning us to the days of bubbles and buyouts. We are here to fight back. HEDGES: Without a real solution, Washington seems to be settling into two camps: one that will have warned about another financial crisis, and another that will profit from it. For The Real News, Thomas Hedges, Washington.