As the U.S. House voted Thursday on a measure that repeals tough banking rules passed after the financial crisis, Minnesota’s federal lawmakers were sharply split on whether loosening financial regulations would spur the economy or harm consumers at the expense of banks.
Republican Rep. Tom Emmer has been a vocal supporter of the Financial Choice Act, which repeals much of the Dodd-Frank law that passed tougher restrictions on banks and expanded consumer protections. The new legislative overhaul would also diminish the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Emmer and other Republicans argue that some of those provisions have gone too far in stifling businesses. In particular, Emmer has pointed to how the Financial Choice Act would exempt smaller banks struggling under many Dodd-Frank regulations. He criticized Dodd-Frank for slowing economic recovery, increasing bureaucracy and leading to billions in extra compliance costs for the financial industry.
But Democrats and other critics describe the Financial Choice Act as a move that will threaten ordinary Americans at the expense of powerful financial institutions. Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat, vowed to oppose the legislation in the Senate and said in a statement that Republicans were ripping apart a landmark law that safeguards middle-class families from another financial meltdown.
“This is a straight-out giveaway to Wall Street bigwigs, bankers, and firms, who are salivating over the opportunity to once again gamble with hardworking Americans’ money without fear of repercussion,” Franken said.