June 7, 2017
Wrong Choice: House Should Oppose Wall Street Deregulation Bill
Statements of Public Citizen Experts
Note: On Thursday, June 8, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10), a sweeping financial deregulation measure authored by U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chair of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.
“Millions of Americans lost their homes, their jobs and their savings when Wall Street crashed the economy in 2008. That seems to matter little to House Republicans who appear determined to deregulate the financial industry. Ideally, the U.S. Senate will understand what Americans understand: that commonsense safeguards are crucial for an industry that runs on risk. Congress also should be wary of considering this bill in smaller parts, which would favor predatory lenders and other scam artists.”
Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs, Public Citizen
“Hensarling has packed hundreds of gift and deregulatory giveaways to Wall Street into this legislation. For starters, it would shackle the newly created U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, designed to combat predatory lenders who tempted borrowers with mortgages they couldn’t afford, a practice so widespread it led to the 2008 financial crash. Another contributor to the economic meltdown is that bankers threw caution to the wind in the pursuit of bonuses, yet this legislation would kill Dodd-Frank’s compensation reforms. Bankers took reckless risks with government-backed deposits, leaving taxpayers to cover the losses, but this bill would let the speculative risks resume by eliminating the Volcker Rule, which stops them from doing so. And when Congress or regulators discover new problems in the financial industry, the legislation would block new safeguards. If Americans want a financial sector that works for everyone, Hensarling’s path is the wrong choice.”
Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division