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GOP Marks Dodd-Frank's 4th Birthday With Calls For Repeal


Four years ago today, President Obama signed a massive overhaul of the nation's financial laws, The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The law was a response to the Wall Street bailouts and regulatory failings that sparked the financial crisis and caused the great recession. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, the anniversary is being marked by calls from some to repeal parts of the law.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Dodd-Frank passed with almost no support from Republicans, so it's not surprising the GOP issued a scathing report on the law through the House Financial Services Committee today. It focuses on Dodd-Frank's approach to ending government bailouts, something President Obama singled out the day he signed the bill as one of its key components.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: To bring the shadowy deals that caused this crisis into the light of day and to put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all.


YDSTIE: But in a statement released with the GOP report today, Finance Committee Chairman Republican Jeb Hensarling of Texas says in no way, shape or form does the Dodd-Frank Act end too big to fail. Hensarling confronted Treasury Secretary Jack Lew with his concerns during a hearing last week. He zeroed in on the powers of the Financial Stability Oversight Committee - or FSOC - a committee of regulators created by Dodd-Frank and headed by the treasury secretary. One of its responsibilities is to identify which large firms, like massive insurance companies, should be designated systemically important because they could destabilize the financial system if they got in serious trouble. Many Republicans, like Hensarling, think naming them is an admission that they are too big to fail.


JEB HENSARLING: Effectively put them into a bailout position. I would simply call upon you as head of FSOC to cease and desist with these designations until Congress can exercise its oversight authority over this incredible process.

JACK LEW: Mr. Chairman, if I may, it's important to know that FSOC is carrying out a statutory responsibility, and it does it with great care.

YDSTIE: Hensarling says the Financial Services Committee will continue producing legislation aimed at repealing provisions of Dodd-Frank including one that takes away the FSOC's ability to tag large firms as systemically important. John Ydstie, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve at NPR for nearly three decades. Over the years, NPR has also employed Ydstie's reporting skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He was a lead reporter in NPR's coverage of the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, as well as the network's coverage of President Trump's economic policies. Ydstie has also been a guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Ydstie stepped back from full-time reporting in late 2018, but plans to continue to contribute to NPR through part-time assignments and work on special projects.