Big unwind begins: Republicans target crisis financial rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — Emboldened by a business-friendly president, Republicans in Congress are moving to unwind the stricter regulations that took effect after the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession.

A House committee takes up legislation Wednesday that would defang the tighter rules. While passage by the GOP-controlled House could come in a few months, the Senate — where Republicans have only 52 of 100 seats — poses an obstacle.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank law was enacted by Democrats and President Barack Obama to respond to the crisis, putting the stiffest restrictions on banks and Wall Street since the 1930s Depression. It clamped down on banking practices and expanded consumer protections to restrain reckless conduct by financial firms and prevent a repeat of the 2008 meltdown.

The sweeping legislation rolled out by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who is Dodd-Frank’s fiercest foe and heads the House Financial Services Committee, would deliver a body blow to the financial law.

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“Supporters of Dodd-Frank promised it would lift the economy, end bailouts and protect consumers,” Hensarling said in a statement. “Yet Americans have suffered through the worst recovery in 70 years, Dodd-Frank guarantees future bailouts for Wall Street, and consumers are paying more and have fewer choices.”

Only a few weeks in office, President Donald Trump launched his attack on the financial law, ordering up a government review of the complex legislation that has been filled out with hundreds of rules written by regulators in a six-year slog. Trump says the restrictions on banks have crimped lending, the economy and job creation.

“We’re going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank,” he promised in late January.

While the review due in June could provide a blueprint, it will take legislation to make a wholesale revamp of the law.

Wielding a heavy knife,…

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