Since the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill was signed by President Obama — officially putting into place the most significant upgrade of the nation’s regulatory structure since the New Deal — various Republicans have threatened to repeal the legislation. Yesterday, at the Reuters Washington Summit, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said that the Dodd-Frank bill should actually be reopened in order to “overhaul” the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). “The consumer agency bothers me the most,” Shelby said. “I thought the creation of it and the way it was created was a mistake.”
Shelby’s comment comes just a few days after California’s Republican senate nominee Carly Fiorina said that the only specific program she’d cut from the budget is the CFPB. So Republicans seem to be focusing on the CFPB for the moment, but make no mistake, they want to repeal the bill in its entirety:
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH): I think it ought to be repealed. [7/15/10]
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN): We need to repeal this new Big Government program. [7/21/10]
Senate candidate Dino Rossi (R-WA): We need to repeal that bill. [7/27/10]
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK): Well yeah. I’m not saying I can, but the answer is yes [I would repeal it]. [8/13/10]
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): I’d love for it to be repealed. [7/16/10]
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN): The financial reg reform bill should be repealed. It’s a disaster. [7/27/10]
The CFPB (then known as the Consumer Financial Protection Agency) was the part of the bill most vilified by Republicans during the financial reform debate, as they falsely portrayed it and its director as empowered to deny credit products to middle-class households. It makes sense, then, that they would use the Bureau as the spearhead of their push for repeal, even though the agency fixes a critical gap in the regulatory structure and is the part of the bill that will likely have the greatest tangible benefit on peoples’ daily lives.
And a repeal campaign might not resonate with the American public. According to a Gallup poll released this month, the regulatory reform bill is the only piece of legislation passed by the current Congress of which a majority of Americans approve. In fact, 61 percent say that they approve of the bill, including 62 percent of independents.
Plus, even threatening to reopen the bill, according to bank regulators, raises the prospect of more regulatory uncertainty, which Republicans are constantly claiming they want to eliminate. “I think to go back and completely reopen it now with a whole other set of question marks and uncertainties about what people are supposed to be doing, I hope people would think hard about that,” said FDIC chair Sheila Bair.