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While across Capitol Hill the Senate was drawing attention for its hearings with fired FBI director James Comey, the House passed a bill to roll back some of the strongest Wall Street regulations from the financial crisis.
The Financial CHOICE Act, a massive bill from House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, would do away with many of the protections in the landmark Dodd-Frank Act.
The bill passed 233 to 186 with 11 abstaining. The vote was along party lines except for one Republican, Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, going against the bill.
Republican leaders have suggested that the deregulation bill solves many of the worries about the financial system stemming from the crisis while at the same time allowing banks to more freely lend to invigorate the economy.
“The CHOICE Act reins in Dodd-Frank and delivers the regulatory relief these banks so desperately need,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan during a speech on the House floor Thursday. “This will change our communities because these small banks are the lifeblood of our Main Streets.”
On the other side, Democrats argue that the bill removes some of the most vital protections that were included in the Dodd-Frank Act to prevent something like the financial crisis from happening again.
“Today, House Republicans are pushing a dangerous Wall Street-first – Wall Street-first, that’s who they are – bill that would drag us back to the days of the Great Recession,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a fierce critic of Wall Street, has called the bill a “handout to Wall Street.”
The bill would eliminate parts of Dodd-Frank such as the orderly liquidation authority, which allows the federal government to step in if a bank is near collapse to provide a backstop to ensure that the institution’s failure does not spread to the rest of financial system.
Despite the bill passing the House, the prospects for the bill to become law are dim.
“Today a bill to rollback #DoddFrank will take the final step in never being approved by the Senate,” tweeted Sean Tuffy, an expert on financial regulation at Brown Brothers Harriman.
Issac Boltansky from political research firm Compass Point had a similar sentiment in a note to clients.
“The House should easily clear the nearly 600-page package, but its fate is already sealed as the Senate is expected to focus on crafting its own package of reforms that can clear a 60-vote threshold.” wrote Boltansky.