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ICYMI: Financial Services Committee Dems Fight Back Against the Wrong Choice Act

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Washington, DC, May 1, 2017 | comments

Last week, House Financial Services Committee Democrats led the Committee’s first Minority Day Hearing in 20 years in order to protect the economic security of hardworking Americans from a bill that prioritizes Wall Street over Main Street. The hearing, which featured testimony from Senator Elizabeth Warren and 10 other expert witnesses, reviewed Chairman Hensarling’s Wrong Choice Act, a nearly 600-page bill that repeals the most important aspects of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), putting America on the road to another financial crisis.

“The Wrong Choice Act is a deeply misguided measure that would bring harm to consumers, investors and our whole economy,” said Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA). “The bill is rotten to the core and incredibly divisive. It’s also dead on arrival in the Senate, and has no chance of becoming law.”

Prior to the Democratic Minority Day Hearing, Chairman Hensarling scheduled only one hearing to review the Wrong Choice Act, in another brazen Republican attempt to jam a bad bill through, just as they did with the healthcare bill earlier this year. In contrast, Democrats convened 41 public hearings related to Wall Street reform before the passage of the House version of Dodd-Frank. During Friday’s Minority Day Hearing, witnesses testified and answered questions for several hours about the dangers of the Wrong Choice Act. This Committee hearing had the lowest Republican turnout out of any hearing held during the 115th congress, with only 5 of 34 Members attending and only a single Republican asking questions of the witnesses. Regardless, Chairman Hensarling, who was not in attendance, is forging ahead with a markup of the bill tomorrow, May 2.

During the Minority Day hearing, Democratic Members fought for transparency for the public and cast light on the many problems with Wrong Choice Act:

“This bill would let big banks and payday lenders and financial advisors go back to cheating people with no accountability and it would unleash the same behavior on Wall Street that led to the 2008 financial crisis…We have a moral obligation to make sure that that kind of crisis never happens again in this country.”

- Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

“[This bill] takes us back to a time where policies encouraged banking practices that wrecked the economy and caused millions of Americans to lose their homes.”

- Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), Vice Ranking Member

“My friends on the other side of the aisle make this case: ‘We’re for business.’ They’re not for business. They’re for short-term abusers of the process and we’re for long-term sustainability of the economy.”

- Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)

“The leverage ratio would become the primary capital requirement and as a result, many banking regulators have contacted us and have argued that relying solely on the leverage ratio would give banks an incentive to get rid of their safest assets and load up with riskier assets.”

- Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

“I thought I would rant a bit about the Republicans not being here, not listening, not gaining insight. And then I realized what’s really happening – they’re all back in their offices glued to their television sets. They know they can learn more if they don’t interrupt with their own questions.”

- Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)

“In the Wrong Choice Act, there is no penalty for failing stress tests if the banks qualify for the low bar that lets them get out of their safety regulations.”

- Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)

“I know that before the crisis there was no one anywhere that spoke for the consumers. And that’s the reason why the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created.”

- Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY)

“There’s so many bad things in this bill, that the truth is, there’s part of me that doesn’t even think we should bother talking about it because there’s no way this bill can be fixed enough to make it worth discussing.”

- Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA)

“I was stunned with this legislation to see that it included a provision to repeal the fiduciary rule.”

- Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)

“Our Ranking Member has spent tireless hours looking into this bill, inviting experts and asking us to be here today to share with our colleagues. I ask everyone to look to [the Republican] side of the aisle and they are absent.”

- Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH)

“I’m one of the members who was here when we wrote Dodd-Frank and passed it. We did it over many many months with hearing after hearing after hearing, including input from everybody...and here we have a major revision, maybe even a repeal, of much of the work that we did back then based on one hearing.”

- Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT)

“I have to say that I think the Dodd-Frank law has worked well.”

- Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA)

“I saw the people that were evicted from their homes. But they were also evicted from their dreams… And the truth is this: we’re about to go back to a circumstance that would allow this to happen again.”

- Rep. Al Green (D-TX)

“I’m more than happy to sit down with the other side and come up with solutions. But when we can’t even get them at the table, it’s very disappointing.”

- Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV)

“Democrats are united under [Ranking Member Waters’] leadership to protect all Americans from the Wrong Choice Act and from having to relive one of the worst financial crises in our nation’s history.”

- Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL)

“If we do not learn the lessons of the Great Recession and its causes, then we will be condemned to repeat them. Passage of the Wrong Choice Act will only hasten the repeat of those very, very painful experiences.”

- Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA)


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