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Republicans fight Dodd-Frank one provision at a time

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Republican disdain for Dodd-Frank is clear. But rather than attacking the sweeping financial reforms included in the legislation as a whole,  conservative policymakers are rolling out five bills this week to weaken the regulatory punch of Dodd-Frank. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) will lead a legislative hearing on the bills Wednesday afternoon. Dodd-Frank already has the mortgage finance market prepping for major changes, with dozens of reforms that will impact banking institutions set to take shape over the next few months. Analysts with SolomonEdwards Group warned last week the pressure is on for banks and financial institutions to reexamine their portfolio risks, capital requirements and product offerings to ensure they comply with Dodd-Frank reforms. "Far too much of the Dodd-Frank act was passed for political purposes, without giving enough thought to what the consequences would be for job creation and the health of our capital markets," Rep. Garrett said in a statement. "This hearing will provide an opportunity to discuss several proposals that address some of the act’s damaging provisions, along with a proposal that will ease the burden on smaller companies as they explore the option of going public." One of the first bills up for consideration — the Asset-Backed Market Stabilization Act — aims to repeal a liability provision in Dodd-Frank that punishes credit rating agencies for producing inaccurate ratings. The Republicans behind the bill claim this provision of Dodd-Frank "temporarily shut down the asset-backed securities market," prompting the Securities and Exchange Commission to jump in and issue a no-action letter to restart the market. The Republicans' Small Company Capital Formation Act will increase the offering threshold to $50 million from $5 million for companies exempt from SEC registration, and the Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act proposes to exempt advisers to private equity funds from registration requirements outlined in Dodd-Frank. Meanwhile, the Business Risk Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act pushes back against a Dodd-Frank requirement mandating derivatives transactions must be cleared through a registered clearing house. This act would ensure businesses using derivatives to hedge legitimate business risks do not fall under Dodd-Frank requirements. Finally, the Burdensome Data Collection Relief Act would repeal a Dodd-Frank provision that requires all publicly traded companies to disclose their median annual total compensation of all employees. Republican lawmakers have been trying to pare down Dodd-Frank since it was signed into law last summer. In February, Republican lawmakers fired off a letter to federal regulators, warning them about the dangers of hurriedly implementing mortgage finance reforms outlined in Dodd-Frank. Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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