U.S. House of Reps. Passes Bill To Ease Dodd-Frank

Jan 15 2015 | 6:31am ET

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday to ease several banking regulations that are part of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The bill included provisions to encourage more initial public offerings (IPOs), and a two-year delay in the implementation of the Volcker Rule, which bans banks from proprietary trading.

The bill passed 271 to 154, with 29 Democrats joining the coalition.

Prior to its passage, the House Financial Services Committee debated the bill for nearly two hours on Tuesday and another hour on Wednesday. House Republicans had attempted to expedite the 11 provisions in a voting session last week; however, the coalition failed to obtain a two-thirds approval needed for passage. Republicans remain confident that they will be able to slowly chip away at Dodd-Frank over the next two years.

"The truth is Dodd-Frank was not chiseled in stone. Nobody brought it down to us from Mt. Sinai," said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas). "Congress would be negligent in its duties if we did not continually monitor and fix Dodd-Frank's unintended consequences."

The current bill will now head to the Senate, where it is uncertain to pass with 60 votes. Liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has vehemently rallied against changes to Dodd Frank, and President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill even if it passes the Senate.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) criticized the bill’s passage, arguing that it fails to protect average Americans. “Rolling back protections that safeguard against practices that nearly crippled our economy creates unnecessary risks for taxpayers and investors ,” Sen. Brown said. “It’s time the House advance legislation in the interest of Main Street, rather than Wall Street.

In a statement this week, the White House promised that President Obama will veto the legislation.

“The President has been clear about his opposition to legislation that would weaken and undermine the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act,” the White House said in a statement.  The Administration has significant concerns with provisions that would undermine the Volcker Rule ... The Administration also has concerns with other provisions that would roll back important derivatives reforms ... If the President were presented with H.R. 37 [the bill passed today], his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Congress would have the opportunity to override the President’s veto, but it’s unlikely that two-thirds of both the Senate and House would again vote for the bill’s approval.

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