You are herePolitico: GOP begins rollback of Wall St. reform

Politico: GOP begins rollback of Wall St. reform


March 16, 2011- House Republicans quietly took their first legislative step Wednesday at repealing Wall Street reform, exposing the difficulty of rolling back a major Barack Obama law that isn’t health care.

When the GOP took over the House in January, leadership’s first — and very public — move was to bring a one-line health care repeal bill straight to the floor with the backing of their full caucus, from tea party freshmen to establishment veterans. That brash action stands in stark contrast to Wednesday’s sparsely-attended Financial Services subcommittee hearing, where the panel introduced the first five bills aimed at taking down key portions of the Dodd-Frank law enacted last summer.

Republicans clearly want to strike at the heart of banking reform with legislation attacking new regulations on derivatives, credit rating agencies and private equity firms. But their piecemeal approach suggests they are trying to do so without appearing to favor Wall Street over Main Street.

And for a party so vigilant on its messaging, the GOP doesn’t intend to swing the door wide-open for Democrats to go on the offensive in ways they couldn’t during the repeal debate over the far less popular health care law.

“There’s no question they didn’t like financial reform,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), one of the law’s namesakes and top Democrat on the committee said of Republicans. “But they’re more respectful of the public appeal of this and are going about this at the edges.”

Any degree of repeal will be difficult, as Democrats control the Senate and White House. But Republicans will push bills anyway, much like they did this week to eliminate the Obama administration’s foreclosure programs.

In a two-pronged approach that began with starving funds from relevant federal agencies like the Treasury, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Commodity Future Trading Commission, the GOP now has launched into the symbolic phase of floating repeal legislation favored by the banking lobby.

Republicans have proposed measures that would eliminate provisions in Dodd-Frank making credit-rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s or Moody’s liable if their initial ratings are faulty; destroy the establishment of a derivatives “clearinghouse,” through which companies using the complicated financial instruments to hedge commercial risk must exchange them; exempt private equity fund managers from having to register with the SEC; raise capital thresholds for companies needing to register with the SEC; and eliminate “burdensome” data collection requirements for publicly traded companies.

The GOP argues that Wall Street reform has been detrimental to economic recovery and has touted the fistful of bills introduced Wednesday as jobs legislation.

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