A week after a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee overwhelmingly approved a rollback of certain financial reforms contained in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, one of the Senate’s biggest consumer advocates is pushing back.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) came out swinging against the repeal of new rules meant to regulate derivatives, the complex financial instruments that were at “the center of the storm” that caused the financial crisis. The rules shouldn’t be weakened or repealed just because big banks want to see them eliminated, Warren argued Thursday, The Hill reports:
“The big banks won some battles and lost some battles during the financial regulatory debate in 2009 and 2010, but their tune never changed and their lobbying never let up,” she said. “It is dangerous for Congress to amend the derivatives provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act without at the same time taking accompanying steps to strengthen reform and maintain the law’s equilibrium.”
One rule the package of legislation advanced by the House committee would eliminate is a “push out” provision that would limit derivatives trading at banks that receive federal backing. Similar to the Volcker Rule, another provision Wall Street largely opposes, it is aimed at making taxpayer-backed banks safer to avoid crises similar to the one that thrust the United States into a recession and led to a bailout of major banks in 2008.
Warren isn’t alone in her opposition to the rollback. The Obama administration has long opposed the repeal of the derivatives rules, and former Federal Deposit Insurance Commission chair Sheila Bair has said the swaps and derivatives rules need to be strengthened rather than weakened. Whether the rules will face a repeal vote in the Senate isn’t clear: the House passed similar legislation in 2012, only to see it die in the Senate without a vote.