The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to pass the Republican-led Financial CHOICE Act, H.R. 10, which would abolish the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
From here, the Financial CHOICE Act moves to the Senate for a vote, where it will likely struggle to succeed without more bipartisan support. A bill of this magnitude would need a filibuster-proof vote in the Senate, which is 60 votes or more, meaning Senate Democrats will need to flip sides and vote to support the act.
Of the 100 seats in the Senate, Republicans make up 52 seats, Democrats make up 46 seats and Independents make up 2 seats (both caucus with the Democrats).
And so far, the act has mainly garnered partisan support, passing through the Financial Services Committee in May in a completely partisan vote (34-26).
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, first introduced the act last year in an attempt to replace the Dodd-Frank Act. He released an updated version of the act this year on April 19. CHOICE stands for Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs.
“The Financial CHOICE Act offers economic opportunity for all and bank bailouts for none. The era of ‘too big to fail’ will end and we will replace Dodd-Frank’s growth-strangling regulations on community banks and credit unions with reforms that expand access to capital so small businesses can create jobs and consumers have more choices and options when it comes to credit,” Hensarling said.
Some of the biggest changes in the bill affect the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB would be changed to the Consumer Financial Opportunity Agency, an executive agency with a sole director removable at will. The deputy director would also be appointed and removed by the president.
The only hearing on the bill was met with a lot of opposition from committee Democrats, who ended up using a political work-around to schedule a follow-up hearing in order to voice their disproval of what they’ve dubbed the “Wrong Choice Act.”
In light of the act passing through the House, House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said, "It's shameful that Republicans have voted to do the bidding of Wall Street at the expense of Main Street and our economy. They are setting the stage for Wall Street to run amok and cause another financial crisis. I urge my colleagues in the Senate not to move on this deeply harmful bill."
The manager’s amendment also passed through the House in a vote after debate on Thursday.
With the amendment, the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan analysis for the U.S. Congress, said the Financial CHOICE Act would reduce direct spending by $30.8 billion, but increase revenue by $2.8 billion, resulting in $33.6 billion in total deficit reductions over the 2017 to 2027 period. This is $9.5 billion more than the first estimate the CBO reported.
According to the CBO report, “The manager’s amendment would make the operating costs and collection of fees by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the non-monetary policy expenses of the Federal Reserve subject to the annual appropriations process. The amendment also would authorize the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to charge additional fees to offset appropriations for the salaries and expenses of certain employees. Under the amendment, certain implementation and administrative costs of the Federal Reserve would be subject to appropriation.”
Three other amendments also passed through the house from Trey Hollingsworth, R-Ind., John Faso, R-N.Y., and Ken Buck, R-Colo., but the CBO did not issue a report on how much the Financial CHOICE Act would cost with the three amendments added in.