The House of Representatives has voted to replace the 2010 Dodd-Frank law with their own sweeping financial regulatory bill, the Financial Choice Act.
The bill passed 233-186, with no support from Democrats. Only one Republican voted against the measure.
“This legislation comes to the rescue of Main Street America,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said. “The Dodd-Frank Act has had a lot of bad consequences for our economy, but most of all in the small communities across our country.”
Similar to the Republicans' healthcare bill, the Financial Choice Act aims to undo one of former President Barack Obama's top legislative achievements. The Dodd-Frank Act, which Republicans say is strangling the financial industry, was passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Speaking to reporters, Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said: “Dodd-Frank represents the greatest regulatory burden on our economy, more so than all the other Obama-era regulations combined.”
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The bill still faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where it must receive some Democratic support to pass. The Senate has been working on another measure that is more focused on easing regulations on community banks.
The nearly 600-page Choice Act would repeal Dodd-Frank's Volcker Rule, which blocks government-insured banks from making risky bets with investments. It would also weaken the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFBP – which was championed by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren – to regulate large banks and payday lenders.
“This legislation would be better dubbed Wall Street’s Choice Act as it would have a devastating effect on the ability of regulators to protect consumers and investors from Wall Street exploitation and the economy from financial risks created by too-big-to-fail megabanks,” Marcus Stanley, policy director at Americans for Financial Reform, wrote in a letter to Congress.
The push for deregulation comes as Donald Trump's administration attempts to spur economic growth to an annual rate of 3 per cent.