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Jeb Hensarling: “Dodd-Frank was a grave mistake”

Housing reform top priority

Taking a break from the housing sessions that ran through the morning, attendees at the Housing America’s Families Forum in Dallas at the George W. Bush Presidential Library on Friday gathered for a light lunch and to listen to one of the most eagerly anticipated speakers of the day, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling.

As a republican representative for the Dallas area, Hensarling didn’t have to travel too far for the event and even quipped about needing to get home to do some stuff for his wife.

But before heading back home, Hensarling shared his hope for the future of housing in America.

While the event was hosted by the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America's Families, a bipartisan group, everyone did share one common goal, affordable housing, regardless of what political party they fell into.

“I am here to talk about housing, but there can’t be a sound housing market in this country without robust economic growth,” he said. “The best program of affordable housing is a growing and healthy economy built from Main Street up, not Washington down. I believe getting growth up to speed will be the highest priority for Congress and the new President in January.”

The timing for Hensarling’s speech was all too perfect given that the Trump administration is currently rumored to be considering him as Secretary of the Treasury.

To no one’s surprise, Hensarling chose not to comment on the matter.

What he did focus on was the need to end Dodd-Frank, a battle he has fought for some time now.

Earlier this year, Hensarling announced a push for the replacement of Dodd-Frank with the Republican-crafted Financial CHOICE act, which her further expanded upon in his speech.

The Financial CHOICE Act would replace Dodd-Frank with a “pro-growth, pro-consumer” alternative that would “end taxpayer-funded bailouts of large financial institutions; relieve banks that elect to be strongly capitalized from ‘growth-strangling regulation’ that slows the economy and harms consumers; and impose tougher penalties on those who commit fraud as well as greater accountability on Washington regulators.

These ideas don’t stray too far from predictions that one of Trump’s first actions as president will be to take a hammer to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

“Dodd-Frank was a grave mistake Washington foisted upon America 6 years ago. It was based upon faulty principles, faulty premises and faulty policy. Dodd-Frank failed to establish financial stability, or make us more free, or create a sense of financial security, and so it failed to generate growth, jobs and prosperity,” said Hensarling on Friday. 

“We must not repeat the era of trying to make everyone a homeowner,” he said. “Everyone should have the opportunity, but not everyone is ready.”

Quoting Edward DeMarco, the former acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, “This remains the great unfinished business from the Great Recession.”

Hensarling concluded that although he cannot tell people every word and clause of the CHOICE Act that will be enacted, he can tell people this: Dodd-Frank will soon take its place on the ash heap of history, together with so many other defunct social schemes.

 “This is a heavy lift,” he said. “And you can't do it alone.”

Looking forward, he finished saying, “President-elect Trump and the new Republican Congress can hardly wait to hit the ground running. Next January, the dawn of a new day begins in America.”

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