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ICYMI: The Wall Street Journal’s ‘Weekend Interview’ with Chairman Jeb Hensarling
Posted by Staff on October 20, 2014
Below are excerpts from the Wall Street Journal’s “Weekend Interview” with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).  The entire interview can be found here.

Hensarling on the Export-Import Bank
 
Mr. Hensarling views the Ex-Im battle “somewhat as a precursor to the tax reform fight because there are so many vested corporate interests” served by the current tax code: “If we can’t get rid of this agency and the corporate welfare it represents, how will House Republicans ever muster the intestinal fortitude to be able to do fundamental tax reform?” He adds, with some political poignancy, “I don’t know how we will ever have the moral authority to deal with social welfare if we can’t deal with corporate welfare.”
 
Hensarling on Dodd-Frank

Mr. Hensarling sees an opportunity to revisit the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, which was drafted in haste after the financial crisis and was falsely promoted as an end to too-big-to-fail banks. Mr. Hensarling says that “given the state of the economy, people are taking a second look” at both the law and the story they were sold by its authors. “We’ve all heard about Wall Street greed. I think people are now starting to be a little bit more sensitized to Washington greed—the greed for power and control over our lives and our economy.”  

He notes that consumers aren’t pleased with the results: Free checking and credit-card perks are disappearing, and more generally the economy is lagging. Mr. Obama’s approval ratings on economic policy are down, and Mr. Hensarling thinks one reason is the burden on lending and small community banks by Dodd-Frank’s “sheer weight, volume, complexity and number of regulations.”


Hensarling on the CFPB

He is particularly focused on the law’s Financial Stability Oversight Council… and on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which he calls “the single most unaccountable agency in the history of America.” Housed within the Federal Reserve, it draws funding from the Fed but doesn’t answer to any Fed officials, or to congressional appropriators, or to a bipartisan commission, as most independent agencies do. The bureau is run by a single director who cannot be removed unless the president can show cause. Mr. Hensarling also notes that the Bureau doesn’t even have true oversight by the courts because of the Supreme Court’s Chevron legal doctrine that compels judges to show deference to the bureau’s decisions. This lack of accountability may be why the bureau has been constructing what Mr. Hensarling calls “the Taj Mahal” to serve as its Beltway headquarters.

Mr. Hensarling believes the CFPB’s lack of accountability is also leading to “consumer protections” that Americans don’t want or need. Once the bureau’s rules are fully implemented, he says, “one third of all blacks and Hispanics” will “no longer be able to buy the homes that they have traditionally been able to buy. We are protecting them out of their homes! The qualified-mortgage rule should have been called ‘quitting mortgages’ because that’s what it’s all about. So I think I’ve got the argument that is very compelling and people feel it,” says Mr. Hensarling. “They’re less free and less prosperous.”

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