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CHOICE Act Cleared for House Vote
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 6:25 AM

The House Rules Committee on Tuesday voted 9-4, along party lines and with few amendments, to clear the Financial CHOICE Act for House floor consideration, with a final vote expected by Friday morning. It is expected to pass without Democratic support.

The CHOICE Act was introduced by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) as an effort to roll back Dodd-Frank, long panned by Republicans as a burden on the U.S. economy and businesses. The bill passed earlier this month with unanimous Republican support and unified Democratic opposition.

“It’s time to help small businesses. It’s time to make Washington and Wall Street accountable,” Hensarling said at the hearing. “We have way too much capital sitting on the sidelines of this economy.”

Rules Committee members approved few changes to the bill beyond an updated version introduced by Hensarling. The amendment removed a provision to scrap a controversial cap on fees charged to retailers by credit card companies, placed the National Credit Union Administration under the congressional appropriations process, and mandated greater classified information sharing between federal financial regulators and Congress.

Hensarling's bill would allow banks to opt out of Dodd-Frank if they hold enough in cash reserves, and it would limit federal stress tests of major banks to every two years. The bill would remove the power through which the federal government can label a bank "too big to fail" and take it apart before a collapse.

The CHOICE Act would also put major restraints on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, long considered unaccountable and redundant by Republicans.

The bill would strip the CFPB of its independent agency status and control of its own budget. The bureau would be renamed the Consumer Law Enforcement Agency and would be run by a director appointed by the president. Its budget would be controlled by Congress, meaning a GOP-controlled government could try to defund it entirely to effectively eliminate the agency.