Republicans have always been critical of the controversial Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, but lately they have turned up the heat with their criticism as the Obama Administration winds down.
On Tuesday, March 15, in an address at the American Bankers Association Conference, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, called Dodd-Frank the “Obama Financial Control Law” and asserted that it “stands as a monument to the arrogance and hubris of man in that its answer to incomprehensible complexity and government control is yet more incomprehensible complexity and more government control.”
On Wednesday, March 16, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Missouri), a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, told the group of bankers that they need to “find a way to neuter” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), according to multiple media sources.
Warren has been one of Dodd-Frank’s staunchest defenders and was the architect of the equally controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which was created out of the Dodd-Frank legislation. On Wednesday, Luetkemeyer compared Warren to an iconic movie villain in his address, calling her “the Darth Vader of the financial world.”
Wednesday night, when asked by the news media to respond to Leutkemeyer’s comments, Warren said, “Look, if Wall Street and their buddies in the Republican party want to launch an assault on financial regulations and they want to try to roll back Dodd-Frank, all I can say is, let’s have that fight. I’m ready. You can make it with words or anything else you want, but I am not backing down.”
Republicans have criticized what they see as Dodd-Frank’s “one size fits all” approach to regulation and have lamented that the legislation was intended to reform Wall Street, but instead has hit Main Street and made it more difficult for smaller business and financial institutions to survive. They have amped up their criticism of Dodd-Frank in recent months, with Hensarling proposing a “bold and better” alternative to the law that will be pro-growth and pro-consumer.
In January 2015, soon after the Republicans gained a majority of in the House of Representatives, the House passed a bill that would delay the implementation of part of the "Volcker Rule," a key piece of the Dodd-Frank Act that limits risky trading by financial institutions, for another two years until 2019. The bill passed by a vote of 271 to 154, with 29 Democrats voting in favor of it. The White House threatened to veto the bill.
Warren has intensified her criticism of Republicans as of late, in particular their moves to block the Senate’s confirmation of Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy left on the Supreme Court bench when Antonin Scalia.