Yesterday the nation and world’s attention were focused on the Senate side of the Capitol with an intensity not seen since the days of 9/11. Would the most powerful country in the world have to remove the most powerful person in the world? Did Russia steal an American election? Would James Comey deliver the smoking gun to answer these important questions? Meanwhile on the House side of the Capital Republicans were quietly committing murder.
While James Comey was testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, House Republicans were voting to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Led by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling they replaced it with The Financial Choice Act. According to Chairman Hensarling “Dodd-Frank represents the greatest regulatory burden on our economy, more so than all the other Obama-era regulations combined”.
I thought that honor was reserved for Obamacare nonetheless the Choice Act guts Dodd-Frank like the American Health Care Act guts Obamacare. The 500 plus page bill would repeal the so-called Volcker Rule which prevents government-insured banks from making risky bets with investments. It would also scrap a requirement which goes into effect today that retirement advisers put their clients’ interests ahead of their own.
The bill will reduce the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate large banks and payday lenders. It specifically exempts payday and car title lenders from any regulation, the businesses most likely to take advantage of financially vulnerable people.
Like Republicans claimed the American Health Care Act was to right the wrongs of Obamacare, they claim the Financial Choice Act will right the wrongs of Dodd-Frank. Dodd-Frank like Obamacare isn’t perfect as the law’s author Barney Frank has stated. “Anytime you pass a very complicated piece of legislation, you don’t get everything 100 percent right the first time”
But Dodd-Frank like Obamacare doesn’t need to be repealed it needs to be tweaked. Realistically there’s nothing House Democrats could have done to stop Republicans from passing the Choice Act but I do fault them for letting it happen so quietly. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi could have at least raised the issue before the public, building public pressure momentum when it goes to the Senate where the 60 vote cloture rule means there is a real possibility for defeat.
Democrats are too preoccupied with the unrealistic idea that somehow they can change the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election. It won’t happen! No matter what James Comey says! The only way to change the outcome is through impeachment, that won’t happen as long as Republicans have control of everything. Republican control can’t change til 2018, which is to long for Democrats to sit and do nothing while waiting.
What James Comey had to say yesterday was important but not important enough to have Democrats undivided attention. The issues he addressed will take month’s maybe years to sort out, the killing of financial reform is happening now. Democrats can’t continue to let Republicans quietly and hassle free roll back progress.