Chamber President Tells Congress To ‘Starve To Death Financially’ New Consumer Protection Bureau

Last week, during his “State of American Business” address, Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue decried the Dodd-Frank financial reform law as a “regulatory tsunami.” Donohue said that the Chamber is “particularly concerned” with the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — which the Chamber dishonestly fought against during the Dodd-Frank debate — and added that the Chamber would be “deeply involved in the regulatory rulemaking” moving forward.

The Chamber, of course, was at the forefront of the fight against Dodd-Frank, coordinating a campaign with the nation’s biggest banks to blunt the much-needed regulatory overhaul. And it seems that Donohue is preparing the Chamber to do much more than simply weigh in on the Dodd-Frank rule-writing process. In an address before 200 business executives in Minneapolis yesterday, Donohue pledged to “starve to death financially” new regulatory agencies:

He decried a “regulatory tsunami” that is “keeping your children out of work, that’s putting your father out of work.” He called for the repeal of health care reform, said the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation vastly overreached, and described the consumer protection agency created by that legislation as, “the most intrusive you’ve ever seen anywhere.” He pledged to work with Congress to “starve to death financially” new regulatory agencies and rule-writing efforts.

This is a pretty clear declaration that the Chamber will push Republicans to complete their drive to defund the Consumer Protection Bureau, subjecting it to the congressional appropriations process and thereby deny it the money it needs to get off the ground. Donohue also seems to want to deny funding to the other federal regulatory agencies involved in implementing Dodd-Frank.

Already, a lack of funding has caused both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to delay implementation of some provisions of the law. “It’s what Republicans have done, historically, to regulatory bodies,” said former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT). “It’s harder to accuse someone of wanting to deregulate when they just starve the budget of an agency than it is for them when they actually try to get rid of it.” And it seems like the Chamber, since it failed to prevent the passage of Dodd-Frank, is hopping aboard.

Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.