House Financial Services Committee Republicans are ratcheting up their claims that the Dodd-Frank Act kills jobs, in a campaign to discredit one of President Obama's crowning achievements as the law's two-year anniversary is heralded this month.
But for all the time and energy spent lambasting Dodd-Frank even before its passage, Republicans have effected little change to the massive law, casting doubts on their ability to move the needle on one of the administration's more popular legislative victories.
Unlike the more polarizing health care law, which Republicans have proudly tried repealing dozens of times, they have made no similar attempts regarding the Wall Street reform law, not even for symbolic purposes.
West Virginia Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito--a moderate subcommittee leader who, along with Vice Chairman Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling, is considered a contender to lead the full committee--offered a widely held status evaluation.
"If nothing else, we've slowed it down and required more-detailed examination," she said. "A broad overhaul and repeal of Dodd-Frank is not going to occur. You know there are some good things in there--higher capital standards, etc.--that we see are having a good effect. So I think [our focus is] just strategic strikes on what are the least effective parts of the law, or the parts that have a negative effect."
Republicans have conducted a slew of oversight hearings and markups that raised awareness and ratcheted up pressure on regulators implementing the law, on items ranging from the "Volcker Rule" to mortgage-lending standards.
At the very least, delays at the agencies demonstrate how complicated the issues are and give some evidence to suggest congressional pressure (from both political parties) has kicked sand in the gears. And at least one proposed rule governing derivatives operations for foreign branches of U.S. banks came out a little easier on the industry than originally expected after legislation on it started moving.
A few bills have wound through the House, but proposals attempting to roll back discrete portions of the law, particularly in the swaps arena, are frozen in their tracks since the brouhaha in May over JPMorgan Chase's trading losses.
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