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From Banking and Finance Law Daily, June 30, 2017

Appropriations bills curbs CFPB and Dodd-Frank reforms

By John M. Pachkowski, J.D.

The House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government has passed the fiscal year 2018 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which was authored by Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga), the subcommittee’s chairman.

The bill provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, Small Business Administration, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Communications Commission, and other related agencies.

Of particular note, the appropriations bill incorporates of number of provisions from H.R. 10, the Financial Choice Act of 2017 that was approved by the House of Representative on June 8, 2017 (see Banking and Finance Law DailyJune 8, 2017).

Among other things, the appropriations bill would affect the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by subjecting it to the appropriations process, removing the CFPB’s UDAAP authority, as well as the bureau’s ability to regulate small-dollar credit or payday lending. The appropriations bill would also repeal the Volcker Rule.

"Particularly excited." In his opening statement at the appropriations bill’s mark-up, Graves said he was "particularly excited about the financial reforms, which slash harmful regulations, streamline outdated agency processes, and rein in the rogue, high-dollar, unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Bureau."

"Outrageous and completely unacceptable." Following the subcommittee’s approval, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif), the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee blasted the vote stating, "The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill has been poisoned with many of the most dangerous parts of the Wrong Choice Act, which would pave the way to another financial crisis." She added, "House Republicans are going to new lengths for Wall Street by inappropriately plugging these vastly consequential and harmful deregulatory provisions into a government funding bill in violation of House rules. The inclusion of these measures, which would lead to disaster to Main Street, is outrageous and completely unacceptable."

Consumer and financial reform advocacy groups added to the chorus, voicing their opposition to the appropriations bill.

"Squeal with delight." Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of Better Markets said, "Demonstrating the power, influence and brazenness of Wall Street and its lobbyists, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services today passed a bill that will make Wall Street’s CEOs and bankers squeal with delight. If America’s investors and savers knew what the Committee was doing, they would consider pulling their money out of the markets and banks." He added, "Strong, independent, effective and properly funded financial regulators are the foundation for our capital markets and banking system. They are the cops on the Wall Street beat, pursuing predators and criminals while reducing recklessness, ensuring a level playing field and enforcing fair rules. They are also a key reason for the confidence of American investors, which is critical for capital formation, economic and job growth, and rising standards of living."

Repackaged version. In a short statement, Brian Marshall, Policy Counsel at Americans for Financial Reform noted, "This funding bill is nothing more than a repackaged version of the giveaways to Wall Street and predatory lenders that the House majority approved last month. It would gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, enable reckless behavior by big banks, and hand a special favor to payday lenders. Lawmakers should reject this legislation out of hand."

"Chumming for loan sharks." Melissa Stegman, Senior Policy Counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending, called the appropriations bill "chumming for loan sharks." She noted, "This legislation weakens housing regulations that are essential for preventing a foreclosure crisis like that experienced just a decade ago. It also takes the consumer finance cop off the beat by gutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It would even give a free pass to payday and car-title lenders, who would be exempted from any CFPB regulation or enforcement actions."

Right-wing wish list. Finally, Lisa Gilbert, Vice President of Legislative Affairs at Public Citizen, said that the appropriations bill goes far beyond the definition of a government funding bill. She added, "Substantively, it’s also a right-wing wish list packed with congressional power grabs, special favors for ideologues and paybacks to corporate donors that have no place in legislation to fund our government."

Companies: Americans for Financial Reform; Better Markets; Center for Responsible Lending; Public Citizen

MainStory: TopStory BankingFinance CFPB ConsumerCredit DoddFrankAct FedTracker FinancialStability SecuritiesDerivatives TrumpAdministrationNews UDAAP VolckerRule

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